Reported and Unreported Potentially Important Incidental Findings in Urgent Nonenhanced Abdominal CT for Renal Colic

Elena Belloni, Stefania Tentoni, Ilaria Fiorina, Chandra Bortolotto, Olivia Bottinelli, Michaela Cellina, Daniele Gibelli, Cristina Rosti, Lorenzo Preda, Fabrizio Calliada, Paola Scagnelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of the study was to retrospectively evaluate the prevalence of reported and unreported potentially important incidental findings (PIFs) in consecutive nonenhanced abdominal CTs performed specifically for renal colic in the urgent setting. Methods: One radiologist, blinded to the finalized report, retrospectively re-evaluated nonenhanced abdominal CTs performed from January to December 2017 on adult patients from the emergency department with the specific request of urgent evaluation for renal colic, searching for PIFs. Results: The CTs of 312 patients were included in the study. Thirty-eight findings were reported in 38 different CTs, whereas the re-evaluation added 47 unreported findings in 47 different CTs, adding to total of 85 findings (27%). The difference in the proportion of reported and unreported PIFs between the original report and re-evaluation was significant (p < 0.001). No significant difference was found between the age of patients with and without reported findings. The proportion of potentially important findings did not vary significantly among the 3 shifts in the original report and in re-evaluation. The most frequent findings, both reported and unreported, were pleural effusion, lymphadenopathies, and liver nodules. Conclusions: Potentially important additional findings are frequently present in urgent nonenhanced abdominal CTs performed for renal colic, and many are not described in the finalized reports. Radiologists should take care not to underreport PIFs even in the urgent setting because of the possible consequences on the patient's health and in order to avoid legal issues, while at the same time satisfying the need for timely and efficient reporting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Principles and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Abdominal CT
  • Incidental finding
  • Nephrolithiasis
  • Radiology
  • Reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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