Low-Dose CT for Evaluation of Suspected Urolithiasis: Diagnostic Yield for Assessment of Alternative Diagnoses

The purpose of this study is to assess the diagnostic yield of low-dose (LD) CT for alternative diagnoses in patients with suspected urolithiasis.

In this retrospective study, we included 776 consecutive patients who underwent unenhanced abdominal CT for evaluation of suspected urolithiasis. All examinations were performed with an LD CT protocol; images were reconstructed using iterative reconstruction. The leading LD CT diagnosis was recorded for each patient and compared with the final clinical diagnosis, which served as the reference standard.

The mean (± SD) effective dose of CT was 1.9 ± 0.6 mSv. The frequency of urolithiasis was 82.5% (640/776). LD CT reached a sensitivity of 94.1% (602/640), a specificity of 100.0% (136/136), and an accuracy of 95.1% (738/776) for the detection of urolithiasis. In 93 of 136 patients (68.4%) without urolithiasis, alternative diagnoses were established as the final clinical diagnoses. Alternative diagnoses were most commonly located in the genitourinary (n = 53) and gastrointestinal (n = 18) tracts. LD CT correctly provided alternative diagnoses for 57 patients (61.3%) and was false-negative for five patients (5.4%). The most common clinical alternative diagnoses were urinary tract infections (n = 22). Seven diagnoses missed at LD CT were located outside the FOV. For 43 of all 776 patients (5.5%), neither LD CT nor clinical workup could establish a final diagnosis. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of LD CT for the detection of alternative diagnoses were 91.9% (57/62), 95.6% (43/45), and 93.5% (100/107), respectively.

LD CT enables the diagnosis of most alternative diagnoses in the setting of suspected urolithiasis. The most frequent alternative diagnoses missed by LD CT are urinary tract infections or diagnoses located outside the FOV of the abdominopelvic CT scan.

AJR. American journal of roentgenology. 2018 Jan 24 [Epub]

Julius Matthias Weinrich, Peter Bannas, Marc Regier, Sarah Keller, Luis Kluth, Gerhard Adam, Frank Oliver Henes

1 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, Hamburg 20251, Germany., 2 Department of Urology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.