Study: Radiologists encouraged to look closer at CT scans

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A recent study conducted at University College Hospital in Galway, Ireland, determined that radiologists can diagnose venous thromboembolic disease (VTED) in cancer through a more careful examination of CT scans of the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis, which are regularly done to determine the extent or stage of the cancer. If left untreated, VTED can be fatal.

“We were surprised by the overall results, said Dr. Carmel Cronin, lead author of the study, which appeared in the July issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, published by the American Roentgen Ray Society. “Venous thrombosis is estimated to be diagnosed in less than 40 percent of those with a concomitant venous thrombosis and malignancy,” she said.

The study included 736 patients ranging from 20 to 79 years of age and focused on pulmonary embolism, inferior vena cava, and iliac and iliofemoral deep vein thromboses (DVTs) in oncology patients. According to the study, 23 patients had unsuspected iliofemoral DVT and four had common iliac vein involvement. The study also showed that 13 patients had an unsuspected pulmonary embolism.