A clinical pathway to minimize computed tomography for suspected nephrolithiasis in children.


INTRODUCTION:Ultrasound (US) imaging is preferred in the initial evaluation for children with suspected nephrolithiasis; however, computed tomography (CT) continues to be used in this setting with resultant unnecessary ionizing radiation exposure. The study institution implemented a standardized clinical pathway to reduce rates of CT utilization for children with nephrolithiasis. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of this pathway on initial imaging strategies for children with suspected nephrolithiasis. STUDY DESIGN:A standardized pathway was designed and implemented using a systematic quality improvement process. A suspected cohort was created using 'reason for study' search terms consistent with a nephrolithiasis diagnosis. A confirmed cohort of children with a final diagnosis of nephrolithiasis was derived from this suspected cohort. The primary outcome was CT use as the initial imaging study in children with suspected or confirmed nephrolithiasis presenting to the emergency department (ED) between October 2013 and February 2018. Comparisons were made before and after pathway implementation (October 2015). Secondary outcomes included rates of CT scan within 30 days, while balancing measures included rates of admission, ED length of stay, and return visits. RESULTS:A total of 534 children with suspected (220 prepathway; 314 postpathway) and 90 children with confirmed (37 prepathway; 53 postpathway) nephrolithiasis were included. For the suspected cohort, CT scans performed as the initial imaging evaluation (9.2% vs 2.5%, P = 0.001) and at any time during the index visit (15.7% vs 5.7%, P = 0.001) decreased after pathway implementation. Within the confirmed cohort, a non-significant decrease in initial CT rates was observed after implementation. No differences were observed in admission rates or ED length of stay after implementation. A trend toward lower return visits to the ED was seen after pathway implementation (5.5% vs 2.2%, P = 0.058). DISCUSSION:Within a tertiary care pediatric ED associated with a strong institutional experience with clinical pathways, initial CT rates were decreased after pathway implementation for children with suspected nephrolithiasis. While retrospective assessment of suspected disease is limited, this is one of the first studies to address imaging patterns for nephrolithiasis beyond the final discharge diagnosis, thus capturing a broader cohort of children. Children with suspected nephrolithiasis can be safely managed with an US-first approach, and postvisit CT scans are rarely necessary for management. CONCLUSIONS:A standardized clinical pathway for suspected nephrolithiasis can reduce rates of initial and overall CT utilization without adversely impacting downstream care.


J Pediatr Urol


Ellison JS,Crowell CS,Clifton H,Whitlock K,Haaland W,Chen T,Merguerian P,Migita R,Vora SB




Has Abstract


2019-10-01 00:00:00














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