Should contrast CT urography replace non-contrast CT as an investigation for ureteric colic in the emergency department in those aged 65 and over?
Emerg Radiol. 2018 Dec;25(6):621-626. doi: 10.1007/s10140-018-1620-0. Epub 2018 Jun 27.
Batura D1, Hashemzehi T2, Gayed W3.
PURPOSE: Elderly patients with upper tract urothelial cancer (UTUC) may present with colic and microscopic haematuria, mimicking urolithiasis. Patients presenting to emergency departments with acute ureteric colic are investigated with a CT KUB. CT urography (CTU) identifies UTUC better than a CT KUB. Thus, there is a possibility that a CT KUB may miss UTUC.
METHODS: We studied patients aged 65 years or over presenting to the emergency department with ureteric colic and microscopic haematuria who had a CT KUB between January 2014 and October 2016. Patients who had both CT KUB and CTU were then compared to determine if CT KUB had missed a UTUC and if the diagnoses were concordant by the two tests. A radiologist independent from the reporting radiologists reviewed images as well as their reports. According to the Health Research Authority, England regulations, we did not obtain an ethical review on a voluntary basis for this retrospective study.
RESULTS: Four hundred eighty-five patients [228 (47.01%) male and 257 (52.99%) female] had a CT KUB scan over the 34-month period. Their mean age was 74 (SD 6.97) [males 73 (SD 6.42), females 75 (SD 7.42)] years. One hundred eighty-seven scans were normal. Ureteric calculi (167), renal calculi (58) and renal cysts (28) were most frequent diagnoses. The diagnosis was uncertain in 33 patients (6.8%) [16 (48.49%) males and 17 (51.51%) females]. The mean age of this group of patients was 74 (SD 6.64) [males 73 (SD4.43), females 74 (SD7.64)] years. These patients had a CTU for clarity. CTU identified one UTUC not identified by CT KUB (0.2%), corroborated the diagnosis of a ureteric tumour in one patient and excluded UTUC in two others. CTU diagnosed two new bladder tumours and an endometrial tumour. Diagnoses were concordant between CT KUB and CTU in 17 of 33 patients (51.5%).
CONCLUSIONS: CT KUB scans for patients 65 years and over presenting with ureteric colic is justified. Only a small proportion of patients will subsequently require the higher radiation dose CTU as the probability of missing UTUC is low.