Medical ultrasonography (Ultrasound), which was introduced into in 1940s, uses sonar.
Well, using the sound waves of an ultrasound to detect the painful kidney stone is as effective as the X-rays of a CT scan. According to a new multicenter study the Ultrasound exposes the patients to much less harmful radiations.
It is actually quite surprising that the ultrasound is just as good as the CT scanning, when analysing the patients outcome.
For years, the abdominal CT scan has been the standard method for detecting the stones because it makes the stones easier to see than the common X-rays. But any other calcium deposits in the body can be mistaken for kidney stones, resulting in treatment which is not required.
Apart from finding the kidney stones, the doctors might be reluctant to give up the CT scanning to Ultrasound for a suspected kidney stone; is the fear that the ultrasound might miss a serious problem, such as appendicitis or ballooning blood vessel, that a CT scan might pick up.
The instance of the CT scans wrongly indicated a stone, when there wasn’t any were forty- two percent of the cases, as compared with the rates of 27 to 29 percent with the ultrasounds.
Scales Observations :
Scales observed that It would not be correct to say that the patients should not get a CT scan but the main message is that an ultrasound is the best place to start.
Scales in her observation has stated that the ultrasound patients received only about sixty percent of the radiation that CT scan patients did. It may be a challenge for the physicians to get comfortable with it. Among the patients who began with the ultrasound, two in six ended up with a CT scan at the doctor’s request.
Smith-Bindman says that, “There was a real shift among both the physicians as well as the patients in preferring ultrasound, so wish that the study will persuade them that the ultrasound is the better way to start.”
Smith-Bindman says, “If the patient is having symptoms of a kidney stone like the back pain, the flank pain, the groin pain; going to the scrotum, then in the emergency department, the patient must talk to the doctor about what he think may be going on with it, whether the CT scan or the ultrasound might be the better way to start .” The patients who had ultrasound need to leave the emergency department soon, which may support the doctors to use this technique as it helps reduce waiting times for patients.
The costs for the patients who got ultrasound first was a little less, but the was not huge.
One of the fears before the radiologists start the Ultrasound is that of starting with ultrasound and if then needs to do CT scan. This is more expensive because the patients will be getting two tests instead of the one. This generally does not happen, as mostly they start with ultrasound and also end with the ultrasound.