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Combination or double CT scans of the abdomen

CT scans of the abdomen can be helpful in diagnosing many conditions. For this measure, it is important to understand the different ways a CT scan can be performed.

For some CT scans, a substance called “contrast” is put into the patient’s body before the scan begins, to help make parts of the body stand out more clearly on the x-rays. Contrast can be either swallowed or injected into a vein. Combination CT scan means that the patient gets two CT scans – one scan without contrast followed by a second scan with contrast.

Giving patients two scans when they only need one needlessly doubles their exposure to radiation. There are also risks of injecting contrast, which include possible harm to the kidneys or allergic reactions.

Contrast shouldn’t be used if it is not needed. If you need to have a CT scan of the abdomen, talk to your doctor about what’s best for your medical condition.

About This Measure

This measures tracks the percent of outpatient CT scans of the abdomen that were "combination" or double scans.

In this case, a lower number is better.