CT Scan Artifacts Can Lead to Dangerous Misinterpretations

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CT Scans are among the most important diagnostic tools available to physicians. Though differential diagnosis based on symptomology is successful in many cases, oftentimes the same set of symptoms can indicate a variety of potential causes. When this occurs, imaging scans are often the only way to determine the disease, particularly if some of the potential causes are minor and some are potentially debilitating or deadly.

A properly performed and properly read scan is an important part of that diagnostic process. One of the potential shortcomings of these types of scans is that there are often artifacts in the scan that can make proper interpretation more difficult. Radiologists are trained on how to evaluate these scans, and can order additional scans if the artifacts render the scan diagnostically useless.

Artifacts can occur for a variety of reasons. The basic categories regarding artifact cause include:

  • Patient-caused errors, most frequently the result of too much movement during the scan
  • Technician errors, usually caused by failure to properly educate or position the patient
  • Hardware errors, caused by defect in the machine, often the result of wear-and-tear

Recognizing which type of artifacts have been generated is an important part of reading the scan. A well-trained radiologist is able to differentiate between artifacts and pathology. When in doubt, the patient should be referred for additional testing rather than assuming something is an artifact and not an indicator of disease.

If you or someone you love has suffered unnecessarily due to a misread or delayed medical imaging scan, recognize that these problems are frequently associated with bad practices that put the health of many others at risk. Please reach out to an experienced attorney about your case and prevent these same bad practices from resulting in other injuries and deaths.