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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007 Apr;188(4):927-33.

Low-dose versus standard-dose CT protocol in patients with clinically suspected renal colic.

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Department of Radiology, University Hospital Geneva, 24 rue Micheli-du-Crest-14, Geneva 1211, Switzerland.



The purpose of our study was to compare a low-dose abdominal CT protocol, delivering a dose of radiation close to the dose delivered by abdominal radiography, with standard-dose unenhanced CT in patients with suspected renal colic.


One hundred twenty-five patients (87 men, 38 women; mean age, 45 years) who were admitted with suspected renal colic underwent both abdominal low-dose CT (30 mAs) and standard-dose CT (180 mAs). Low-dose CT and standard-dose CT were independently reviewed, in a delayed fashion, by two radiologists for the characterization of renal and ureteral calculi (location, size) and for indirect signs of renal colic (renal enlargement, pyeloureteral dilatation, periureteral or renal stranding). Results reported for low-dose CT, with regard to the patients' body mass indexes (BMIs), were compared with those obtained with standard-dose CT (reference standard). The presence of non-urinary tract-related disorders was also assessed. Informed consent was obtained from all patients.


In patients with a BMI < 30, low-dose CT achieved 96% sensitivity and 100% specificity for the detection of indirect signs of renal colic and a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 97% for detecting ureteral calculi. In patients with a BMI < 30, low-dose CT was 86% sensitive for detecting ureteral calculi < 3 mm and 100% sensitive for detecting calculi > 3 mm. Low-dose CT was 100% sensitive and specific for depicting non-urinary tract-related disorders (n = 6).


Low-dose CT achieves sensitivities and specificities close to those of standard-dose CT in assessing the diagnosis of renal colic, depicting ureteral calculi > 3 mm in patients with a BMI < 30, and correctly identifying alternative diagnoses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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