The effect of limiting the scan range of computed tomography pulmonary angiography (To reduce radiation exposure) on the detection of pulmonary embolism: A systematic review

Amayar Zaw, Rebecca Nguyen, Leon Lam, Anthony Kaplan, Claudia C. Dobler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

(1) Background: Computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) is the standard imaging test for the evaluation of acute pulmonary embolism (PE), but it is associated with patients’ exposure to radiation. Studies have suggested that radiation exposure can be reduced without compromising PE detection by limiting the scan range (the z-axis, going from up to down); (2) Methods: A literature search was conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE on 17 July 2021. Studies were included if they enrolled patients who had undergone a CTPA and described the yield of PE diagnoses, number of missed filling defects and/or other diagnoses using a reduced z-axis in comparison to a full-length scan. To assess risk of bias, we modified an existing risk of bias tools for observational studies, the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Results were synthesized in a narrative review. Primary outcomes were the number of missed PE diagnoses (based on at least one filling defect) and filling defects; the secondary outcome was the number of other missed findings; (3) Results: Eleven cohort studies and one case-control study were included reporting on a total of 3955 scans including 1025 scans with a diagnosis of PE. Six different reduced scan ranges were assessed; the most studied was from the top of the aortic arch to below the heart, in which no PEs were missed (seven studies). One sub-segmental PE was missed when the scan coverage was 10 cm starting from the bottom of the aortic arch and 14.7 cm starting from the top of the arch. Five studies that reported on other findings all found that other diagnoses were missed with a reduced z-axis. Most of the included studies had a high risk of bias; (4) Conclusions: CTPA scan coverage reduction from the top of aortic arch to below the heart reduced radiation exposure without affecting PE diagnoses, but studies were generally at high risk of bias.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2179
JournalDiagnostics
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of limiting the scan range of computed tomography pulmonary angiography (To reduce radiation exposure) on the detection of pulmonary embolism: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this