The Image Gently® campaign was launched by several radiological societies in 2007 to promote safe imaging in children. A goal of the campaign was to reduce ionizing radiation exposure in children. Given the recurrent nature of kidney stones, affected children are at risk for unnecessary ionizing radiation exposure from computerized tomography. We sought to determine whether the Image Gently campaign led to a decrease in the use of computerized tomography for evaluating children with nephrolithiasis. We hypothesize that the campaign was the primary cause of a reduction in the use of computerized tomography.
We analyzed medical claims data from 2001 to 2015 identifying children with nephrolithiasis covered by the same commercial insurance provider. Using a difference in differences design, we estimated changes in computerized tomography use after the campaign started among patients less than 18 years old compared to a control group age 18 years or older with nephrolithiasis.
We identified 12,734 children and 787,720 adults diagnosed with nephrolithiasis. Before 2007 quarterly rates of computerized tomography use during a stone episode (per 1,000 patients) were increasing at a parallel rate in children and adults (5.1 in children vs 7.2 in adults, p = 0.123). After the Image Gently campaign started the use of computerized tomography decreased in both groups but at a slightly higher rate in adults (difference in differences 2.96, 95% CI 0.00 to 5.91, p = 0.050).
Although there has been a reduction in the use of computerized tomography among children with nephrolithiasis, given a similar trend seen in adults this change cannot be primarily attributed to the Image Gently campaign.
The Journal of urology. 2019 Jan 31 [Epub ahead of print]
Courtney S Streur, Paul J Lin, John M Hollingsworth, Neil S Kamdar, Kate H Kraft
Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan., Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.