Many radiology departments offer direct access upper abdominal ultrasound (US) scanning to general practitioners (GPs).
We aimed to examine the influence of the scan results on the subsequent management and clinical outcome of these patients.
A retrospective review was performed on all the patients referred for primary upper abdominal US (n=82) from a single Birmingham GP practice, of 10000 patients, between 1991 and 1996.
The follow-up period from US was mean 27.9 months, SD 18.2 months. 79 referrals complied with published guidelines. 77 referrals were for suspected gallstone disease. 23 (28%) patients had clinically relevant positive findings. 18 of the positive scans, 16 of whom had gallstones, were subsequently referred to hospital.
Of those with gallstones, 15 underwent cholecystectomy, of whom 12 had no further upper abdominal symptoms.
Of the 59 negative scans, eight cases (14%) were subsequently referred to hospital.
Treatment was changed as a result of review and investigation in only two of these eight cases.
The remaining 51 were diagnosed solely on history and clinical examination. 28 of the 51 had self-limiting symptoms which required minor or no treatment.
In conclusion, direct access upper abdominal US is considerably reducing the requirement for hospital outpatient referrals from GPs.
Positive scans are generally followed by referral to secondary care services with good clinical outcome.
Mots-clés Pascal : Echographie, Abdomen, Indication, Médecin généraliste, Pertinence, Demande information, Admission hôpital, Bilan, Evaluation performance, Homme, Exploration ultrason, Economie santé
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Echography, Abdomen, Indication, General practitioner, Relevance, Call for information, Hospital admission, Balance, Performance evaluation, Human, Sonography, Health economy
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 98-0483292
Code Inist : 002B24C09. Création : 19/02/1999.