Whole-body computed tomography: a new point of view in a hospital check-up unit? Our experience in 6516 patients
Millor M (1,2), Bartolomé P (3), Pons MJ (3,4), Bastarrika G (3), Beloqui Ó (5), Cano D (3), González I (3), Vivas I (3)
There is a growing awareness that prevention and early diagnosis may reduce the high mortality associated with cancer, cardiovascular and other diseases. The role of whole-body computed tomography (WB-CT) in self-referred and asymptomatic patients has been debated.
To determine frequency and spectrum of WB-CT findings in average-risk subjects derived from a Medical-Check-Up-Unit, to evaluate recommendations reported and distribution according to sex and age-groups.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
We retrospectively reviewed 6516 subjects who underwent WB-CT (June 2004/February 2015). All were > 40 years and referred by Medical-Check-Up-Unit of our hospital. The main findings were categorized and classified as normal or not. Its distribution according to sex and age-groups was evaluated using Chi-square test and linear-by-linear association test, respectively. Number of recommendations, type and interval of follow-up were recorded. Descriptive statistics were used.
WB-CT performed in 6516 patients (69% men, 31% women, mean age = 58.4 years) revealed chest (81.4%), abdominal (93.06%) and spine (65.39%) abnormalities. Only 1.60% had completely normal exploration. Abnormal WB-CT in men was significantly higher than women (98.64% vs. 97.87%; p = 0.021), with significant increase as age was higher (40-49 years: 95.65%; 50-59 years: 98.33%; 60-69 years: 99.47%; > 69 years: 99.89%) (p < 0.001). Although most findings were benign, we detected 1.47% primary tumors (96, mainly 35 kidneys and 15 lungs). 17.39% of patients received at least one recommendation predominantly in chest (78.19%) and follow-up imaging (69.89%).
The most common WB-CT findings in asymptomatic subjects are benign. However, this examination allows identifying an important number of relevant and precocious findings that significantly increase with age, involving changes in lifestyle and precocious treatment.