Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Increased Computed Tomography Utilization in the Emergency Department and Its Association with Hospital Admission


Introduction: Our goal was to investigate trends in computed tomography (CT) utilization in emergency departments (EDs) and its association with hospitalization. Methods: We conducted an analysis of an administrative claims database of U.S. privately insured and Medicare Advantage enrollees. We identified ED visits from 2005 through 2013 and assessed for CT use, associated factors, and hospitalization after CT, along with patient demographics. We used both descriptive methods and regression models adjusted for year, age, sex, race, geographic region, and Hwang comorbidity score to explore associations among CT use, year, demographic characteristics, and hospitalization. Results: We identified 33,144,233 ED visits; 5,901,603 (17.8%) involved CT. Over time, CT use during ED visits increased 59.9%. CT use increased in all age groups but decreased in children since 2010. In propensity-matching analysis, odds of hospitalization increased with age, comorbidities, male sex, and CT use (odds ratio, 2.38). Odds of hospitalization over time decreased more quickly for patients with CT. Conclusion: CT utilization in the ED has increased significantly from 2005 through 2013. For children, CT use after 2010 decreased, indicating caution about CT use. Male sex, older age, and higher number of comorbidities were predictors of CT in the ED. Over time, odds of hospitalization decreased more quickly for patients with CT.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View