September 28, 2002

ACR Statement on Whole Body CT Screening

(supersedes statement of Sept. 27, 2000)

The American College of Radiology (ACR) recognizes that an increasing number of computed tomography (CT) screening examinations are being performed in the United States. Much CT screening is targeted at specific diseases, such as lung scanning for cancer in current and former smokers, coronary artery calcium scoring as a predictor of cardiac events and CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) for colon cancer. Early data suggest that these targeted examinations may be clinically valid. Large, prospective, multicenter trials are currently under way or in the planning phase to evaluate whether these screening exams reduce the rate of mortality.

The ACR, at this time, does not believe there is sufficient evidence to justify recommending total body CT screening for patients with no symptoms or a family history suggesting disease. To date, there is no evidence that total body CT screening is cost efficient or effective in prolonging life. In addition, the ACR is concerned that this procedure will lead to the discovery of numerous findings that will not ultimately affect patients' health but will result in unnecessary follow-up examinations and treatments and significant wasted expense.

The ACR will continue to monitor scientific studies concerning these procedures.