Smart Phones Aid Diagnosis
Researchers Say CT Scan Images Sent via iPhone Clear Enough for Appendicitis Diagnosis
Nov. 30, 2009 (Chicago) -- Your child has abdominal
pain and the young doctor suspects
appendicitis. But he wants to make sure.
There’s an app for that.
CT scan images sent via an iPhone, using a $19.99 app that's available on
iTunes, were clear enough for correct diagnoses to be made in 99% of cases,
In fact, almost any smart phone will do, says Elliot Fishman, MD, director
of diagnostic imaging and body CT at Johns Hopkins University.
"The promise is that we can look at anything anywhere" says Fishman, who is
familiar with but not involved in the research.
The technology can expedite diagnosis and, therefore, treatment, he tells
CT Scan Images Sent on Smart Phone
For the study, researchers took CT images of 25 patients suspected of having
appendicitis and sent them via iPhone to five radiology residents. Then, the
residents were asked to make a diagnosis based on what they could see on their
Only one reader failed to make the right diagnosis.
In every other case, the residents correctly determined that 15 of the
patients were suffering from appendicitis and that 10 of the patients did not
have appendicitis and did not require treatment.
Asim Choudhri, MD, a fellow in neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins who performed
the study while at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, presented the
findings here at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North
Smart Phone Not for Final Diagnosis
Choudhri tells WebMD that a detailed image can be sent in one to five
minutes on a smart phone depending on the type of connection that's being
Joseph Tashjian, MD, president of St. Paul Radiology and a spokesman for
RSNA, says that the application might also be useful for patients who want to
bring their medical records along when visiting another facility.
But the application, which is not approved by the FDA, should not be used to
make a final diagnosis, he tells WebMD.
"It's a distribution method that can facilitate decision-making," Tashjian
"Transmitting the images over a mobile device allows for instant
consultation and diagnosis from a remote location. It can also aid in surgical
planning," he says.