Bedside exams may work better than CT scans

In most cases, patients who have had open brain surgery get a CT scan within a day of the procedure--an expense the health system has borne on the assumption that the costly scan is the best way to care for such patients. However, a new study suggests that a bedside neurological exam performed by a trained physician may be just as effective in assessing a patient's status.

Researchers at Loyola University Health System looked at the medical records of 251 patients who received CT scans within 24 hours of surgery at their facilities. This included 133 patients getting scans within seven hours of surgery and 108 who received routine scans within 8 to 24 hours of surgery.

After analyzing the data, researchers concluded that none of the routine scans could predict which patients ultimately needed to return to the operating room for further care. Given the expense of performing CT scans, and the extent to which they interrupt the workflow of the radiology department, bedside testing is probably a better option in most cases, the researchers said.

To learn more about the research:
- read this UPI piece

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