“Clinical examination is a fading art” this statement is true regarding the present scenario of medical practice. So much hike in the number of CT scan is because of the over prescription by the medical professionals, to save themselves from medico legal cases or sometimes demanded by the patient as they might think it as a magical tool .

Since its first use in 1970, the number of scans and the dose of radiation per scan are increasing day by day; this is of great concern.

Basic consideration of CT scan

Computed tomography or CT scan, is a technique in which we take cross sectional picture of the body.

In contrast to X-ray , CT scan can take the image of the internal soft tissue also, this makes them indispensible in emergency situation. By analyzing the image any trained professional can detect the presence of blood clot, infarction (area of insufficient blood supply) or some growth.

In contrast to common belief, CT scan is not without errors, both over diagnosis and under diagnosis is a common occurrence.

Clinical significance of blood clotting

Blood clots are formed in our body usually in the lower extremity, as a consequence of some abnormality in clotting cascade, the clot may dislodge and form emboli  which can obstruct the microvasculature of internal organs, most commonly involved are the lungs and brain; leading to pulmonary embolism and transient ischemic attacks.

Detection of blood clot by CT scan

The misinterpretation of CT in detection of blood clot is a very common problem, especially in the case of pulmonary thromboemboli. CT scan cannot provide you with the histological evidence, the physician gets the abnormal findings and it is his wisdom to interpret it as infarct or blood clot or anything else, since human errors are not so rare, we opt to get false positive or negative finding.

Summary

CT scan is a life saving diagnostic procedure, but its indiscriminate use in emergency situation causing more harm than good. Instead of learning indications of CT scan, all healthcare professionals should know; when not to advice a CT scan.