Early imaging tests can lead to shorter hospital stays, study finds

Despite the recent criticism of overuse of costly, potentially toxic radiological procedures, a recent study shows that patients who have MRIs and CTs soon after being admitted to hospitals go home sooner.

Led by Dr. Juan Carlos Battle, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital reviewed 10,005 hospital admissions that included at least one advanced imaging study during the period from one day prior to admission through discharge. Although the study did not establish cause and effect, the results showed that patients who were imaged on the day of or before admission were discharged half a day to a day sooner than those who had the tests on day one or day two of admissions of three or more days.

The study, which appears in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, also suggests that the use of the advanced imaging techniques might help decrease the high costs associated with hospitalization if used early, reports UPI.com. However, the results "do not imply that automatic ordering of imaging should replace clinical judgment," Batlle wrote.

To learn more:
- read the full study
- check out this UPI article
- read this Becker's Hospital Review post