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Patterns and trends of computed tomography usage in outpatients of the Brazilian public healthcare system, 2001-2011

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark PearceORCiD


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While the patterns and trends of computed tomography (CT) are well documented in developed countries, relatively little is known about CT usage in developing countries, including Brazil. We evaluated CT usage among outpatients from the public healthcare system in Brazil (SUS), which is the unique healthcare provider to about 75% of the Brazilian population. We collected the annual number of CT procedures and type of CT examinations performed in SUS for the period 2001-2011. Age at examination was evaluated for 2008-2011. CT usage in Brazil has more than tripled during the study period, but the most striking annual increase (17.5%) was observed over the years 2008-2011. Head was the most frequently examined region for all age groups, but a decreasing trend of proportional contribution of head CT, with a simultaneous increase of abdomen/pelvis and chest CT over time was observed. CT examination for pediatric and young adult patients was about 13% of all CTs (9% if we considered age-standardized CT rates). CT usage has grown rapidly in Brazil and may still be increasing. Increased CT usage may certainly be associated with improved patient care. However, given the high frequency of pediatric and young adult CT procedures and the suggested associated cancer risk, efforts need to be undertaken to reduce unwarranted CT scans in Brazil.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dovales ACM, da Rosa LAR, Kesminiene A, Pearce MS, Veiga LHS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Radiological Protection

Year: 2016

Volume: 36

Issue: 3

Pages: 547-560

Print publication date: 01/09/2016

Online publication date: 27/07/2016

Acceptance date: 08/07/2016

ISSN (print): 0952-4746

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6498

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1088/0952-4746/36/3/547


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Funder referenceFunder name
AUXPE 138/2012Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES)