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Diagnostic Imaging in Emergency Medicine: How Much Is Too Much?

      Few topics are as pertinent to the current emergency medicine climate as the debate surrounding the overuse of diagnostic imaging. Use of advanced diagnostic imaging has increased in the United States exponentially since the advent of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT use has increased from 3 million scans in 1980 to greater than 60 million in 2005, and is still increasing.
      • Brenner D.J.
      • Hall E.J.
      Computed tomography—an increasing source of radiation exposure.
      Although this growth stretches across the care continuum, it includes the emergency department (ED). Overall, CT use during ED visits increased 330%, from 3.2% of encounters in 1996 to 13.9% in 2007.
      • Kocher K.E.
      • Meurer W.J.
      • Fazel R.
      • et al.
      National trends in use of computed tomography in the emergency department.
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