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Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(3):447

AGA Releases Position Statement on CT Colonography

Guideline source: American Gastroenterological Association

Literature search described? No

Evidence rating system used? No

Published source: Gastroenterology, November 2006

Although computed tomographic (CT) colonography is considered investigational for colorectal screening, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) suggests that it could significantly influence patient care and how the field of gastroenterology is defined. CT colonography has the potential to provide a relatively noninvasive diagnostic evaluation of the colon with good patient acceptability. However, published data have suggested that CT colonography should be used only as a diagnostic tool for patients who have had incomplete colonoscopies for limited indications. Therefore, the AGA has released a position statement on CT colonography, which appears in the November 2006 issue of Gastroenterology.

Guided by its position that physicians should be able to use and manage any technology that will allow them to provide better care to patients, the AGA is monitoring the development of CT colonography and is creating training standards for the performance of the test.

Many physicians have the relevant expertise to correctly interpret CT colonography. However, issues such as relative sensitivity, standardization of test performance, cost and reimbursement, and technologic challenges need to be addressed before CT colonography is widely accepted as an alternative to conventional colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening.

Physicians trained to interpret CT colonography should be able to detect neoplasms of the colon during CT colonography. They also should be encouraged to consult with radiologists when interpreting studies, correlate findings with clinical presentation, and make appropriate management decisions based on the findings. Additionally, the AGA has convened a task force to develop training standards and criteria for CT colonography training.

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