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Non-Clinical Medicine - Public Health and Epidemiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Unrequested Findings on Cardiac Computed Tomography: Looking Beyond the Heart
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Author: Constantinus F. Buckens et al.

by Constantinus F. Buckens, Helena M. Verkooijen, Martijn J. Gondrie, Pushpa Jairam, Willem P. Mali, Yolanda van der Graaf


To determine the prevalence of clinically relevant unrequested extra-cardiac imaging findings on cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) and explanatory factors thereof.


A systematic review of studies drawn from online electronic databases followed by meta-analysis with meta-regression was performed. The prevalence of clinically relevant unrequested findings and potentially explanatory variables were extracted (proportion of smokers, mean age of patients, use of full FOV, proportion of men, years since publication).


Nineteen radiological studies comprising 12922 patients met the inclusion criteria. The pooled prevalence of clinically relevant unrequested findings was 13% (95% confidence interval 9–18, range: 3–39%). The large differences in prevalence observed were not explained by the predefined (potentially explanatory) variables.


Clinically relevant extra-cardiac findings are common in patients undergoing routine cardiac CT, and their prevalence differs substantially between studies. These differences may be due to unreported factors such as different definitions of clinical relevance and differences between populations. We present suggestions for basic reporting which may improve the interpretability and comparability of future research.