Colorectal cancer is reliably excluded in the frail and elderly population by minimal preparation CT.
Background: This study aimed to retrospectively assess the accuracy of minimal preparation computed tomography (MPCT) in the detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) within the frail and elderly population and to evaluate the relevance of extra-colonic findings (ECF). Methods: Radiology reports, clinical notes and follow-up reports from 207 patients who underwent MPCT to investigate for CRC between 2005 and 2009 were analysed. Patients were scanned following the administration of oral contrast for 48 h, without bowel preparation or colonic insufflation. MPCT results were measured against patient outcomes, with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up. Results: Twelve cases of clinically relevant CRC were confirmed (5.8 %). MPCT correctly identified 11 of these lesions (sensitivity 91.6 %). Thirty-one patients had a possible CRC identified by MPCT, which was not confirmed by further examination (specificity 84.1 %). This results in a positive predictive value of 26.2 % and a negative predictive value of 99.4 %. Five of the patients with colon cancer underwent curative surgery. Sixty-eight clinically relevant ECF were confirmed, including 14 previously undiagnosed extra-colonic malignancies. ECF were considered to account for the presenting complaint in 15.0 % (31/207) of all patients. Conclusions: Minimal preparation computed tomography is an effective and reliable investigation for the exclusion of clinically relevant CRC in this population. It provides clinicians with a valuable and pragmatic alternative to colonoscopy and CT colonography when invasive examination or cathartic bowel preparation will be poorly tolerated and small polyps are of limited significance. MPCT has an advantage over purely luminal imaging in the detection of extra-colonic pathology and appears to have an equally important role in the detection of CRC.
- Radiology