Impact of patient questionnaires on completeness of clinical information and identification of causes of pain during outpatient abdominopelvic CT interpretation

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2017 Dec;42(12):2946-2950. doi: 10.1007/s00261-017-1202-8.


Purpose: To evaluate the impact of questionnaires completed by patients at the time of abdominopelvic CT performed for abdominal pain on the completeness of clinical information and the identification of potential causes of pain, compared with order requisitions alone.

Methods: 100 outpatient CT examinations performed for the evaluation of abdominal pain were retrospectively reviewed. The specificity of the location of pain was compared between the order requisition and patient questionnaire. An abdominal imaging fellow (Reader 1) and abdominal radiologist (Reader 2) reviewed the examinations independently in two sessions 6 weeks apart (one with only the order requisition and one also with the questionnaire). Readers recorded identified causes of pain and rated their confidence in interpretation (1-5 scale; least to greatest confidence).

Results: In 30% of patients, the questionnaire provided a more specific location for pain. Among these, the pain was localized to a specific quadrant in 40%. With having access to the questionnaire, both readers identified additional causes for pain not identified in session 1 (Reader 1, 8.6% [7/81]; Reader 2 5.3% [4/75]). Additional identified causes of pain included diverticulitis, cystitis, peritoneal implants, epiploic appendagitis, osseous metastatic disease, umbilical hernia, gastritis, and SMA syndrome. Confidence in interpretation was significantly greater using the questionnaire for both readers (Reader 1: 4.8 ± 0.6 vs. 4.0 ± 0.5; Reader 2: 4.9 ± 0.3 vs. 4.7 ± 0.5, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Patient questionnaires provide additional relevant clinical history, increased diagnostic yield, and improve radiologists' confidence. Radiology practices are encouraged to implement questionnaires and make these readily available to radiologists at the time of interpretation.

Keywords: Clinical information; Quality; Questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Radiography, Abdominal*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*