Virtual Colonoscopy a Good Screening Tool
A CT colonography is a good screening test for seniors, although Medicare has ruled against paying for it, a new study found.
CT colonography is a less invasive test than a colonoscopy, and in 2009 the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it would not pay for the test because previous trials hadn’t included enough seniors to determine whether it is a good screening device.
Also known as virtual colonoscopy, the CT colonography is performed via a CT screening. It’s less invasive than a colonoscopy, although the prep is virtually the same.
Brooks Cash, MD, and colleagues at the National Naval Center in Bethesda, Maryland, analyzed records of 1,410 patients who had undergone colonography. Of the patients, 14.5 percent had polyps larger enough to warrant a colonoscopy, and 14 percent underwent the procedure. They were variously found to have medium polyps, larger ones and benign tumors. Two patients were found to have possibly malignant masses.
The authors of the study said that CT colonography should “be reconsidered” by both the CMS and the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force.