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Increase in Rates of Medical Imaging in Pregnancy in U.S., Canada

Increases in the United States and Ontario, Canada, in CT rates, MRI rates, radiography rates

THURSDAY, July 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 1996 to 2016, the rates of medical imaging among pregnant women increased in the United States and Ontario, Canada, according to a study published online July 24 in JAMA Network Open.

Marilyn L. Kwan, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving pregnant women from U.S. sites and Ontario, Canada, to examine imaging rates during pregnancy. Data were included from 3,497,603 pregnancies in 2,211,789 women; 26 percent from U.S. sites.

The researchers observed an increase in computed tomography (CT) imaging rates in the United States, from 2.0 examinations/1,000 pregnancies in 1996 to 11.4/1,000 in 2007, then remained stable through 2010, and decreased to 9.3/1,000 pregnancies by 2016; the overall increase was 3.7-fold. In Ontario, Canada, there was a more gradual increase in CT rates, from 2.0/1,000 pregnancies in 1996 to 6.2/1,000 in 2016. Steady increases were seen in magnetic resonance imaging rates, from 1.0/1,000 pregnancies in 1996 to 11.9/1,000 in 2016 in the United States, and from 0.5 to 9.8/1,000 pregnancies in Ontario. Radiography rates doubled from 34.5/1,000 pregnancies in 1996 to 72.6/1,000 pregnancies in 1999, and decreased to 47.6/1,000 pregnancies 2016 in the United States; in Ontario, the rates increased slowly.

“Over the 21-year study period, CT rates increased 3.7-fold in the U.S. sites and 2.0-fold in Ontario, whereas the use of other imaging modalities with ionizing radiation decreased,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Bayer Healthcare.

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