Effects of eliminating routine use of oral contrast for computed tomography of the abdomen and pelvis: A pilot study

Publication Date


Journal Title

Clin Imaging


© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Introduction: Computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis using only intravenous contrast has been shown to have a high degree of accuracy in evaluating abdominal pain. The aim of this study was to determine the effect on time to completion of study, time to radiologist read, and length of stay in the emergency department (ED) of implementing a protocol that stopped the routine use of oral contrast for CT of the abdomen and pelvis. Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective cohort study. All patients ≥18 years of age who presented to the ED and required a CT of the abdomen and pelvis during the hours 0700–1500 were included. There were two one-month study periods, before and after implementing a protocol that specified oral contrast should only be used for CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis if body mass index /m2or age < 30 years, or if there was history of inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal surgery, or suspected bowel malignancy. Results: During the pre- and post-implementation periods, there were 93 and 83 patients, respectively, with mean times to CT completion of 158 min and 135 min, representing a reduction of 23 min (15%). The mean lengths of stay in the pre- and post-implementation periods were 365 min and 336 min, a decrease of 29 min (8%). Conclusion: A protocol without the routine use of oral contrast for CT of the abdomen and pelvis can result in improved time to completion and ED length of stay.

Volume Number



159 - 162

Document Type



Faculty; Northwell Researcher


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department

Emergency Medicine





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