Incidental Findings Protocol Implementation at a Level-I Trauma Center: A Review of Patient Follow-Up

Sarah Martin, Andrew LoPolito, Larissa D. Whitney, Ashley Fenninger, Kelly Bonneville, Ryan Ward, Shelby Graeff, Launick Saint Fort, Catherine T. Brown, Virginia Miller, Lindsey L. Perea

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Objectives: Pan scanning in trauma patients has become routine, resulting in increased identification of incidental findings (IF), findings unrelated to the reason for the scan. This has posed a conundrum of ensuring patients have appropriate follow-up for these findings. We sought to evaluate our compliance and follow-up for patients after implementation of an IF protocol at our level-I trauma center. Methods: We performed a retrospective review from 9/2020 to 4/2021, to encompass before and after protocol implementation. Patients were separated into PRE and POST groups. Charts were reviewed evaluating several factors including three- and six-month follow-ups on IF. Data were analyzed comparing PRE and POST groups. Results: A total of 1989 patients were identified, 31.22% (n = 621) with an IF. 612 patients were included in our study. Compared to PRE, POST showed a significant increase in PCP notification (35% vs 22%, P <.001) and patient notification (82% vs 65%, P <.001). As a result, patient follow-up regarding IF at six months was significantly higher in POST (44%) v. PRE (29%), (P <.001). There was no difference in follow-up based on insurance carrier. There was no difference in patient age for PRE (63 y) and POST (66 y) overall, (P =.089); nor in age of patients who followed up; 68.8 PRE vs 68.2 years POST (P =.819). Conclusion: Implementation of an IF protocol with patient and PCP notification was significantly improved in overall patient follow-up for category one and two IF. Utilizing the results of this study, the protocol will be further revised to improve patient follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3174-3179
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

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