In this study, researchers from Bethesda, Maryland, USA, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 312 diagnostic radiologists.
The team used descriptive statistics and chi-square tests to assess radiologists' opinions about double-contrast barium enema volume and capacity. These data were also used to compare radiologists' beliefs about colorectal cancer screening with those of primary care physicians.
In addition, they used logistic regression to identify radiologists who receive referrals for or perform a higher volume of screening double-contrast barium enema, as well as those who expect volume to increase.
The researchers found that 75% of radiologists thought double-contrast barium enema was a "very effective" colorectal cancer screening procedure, compared with 33% of primary care physicians.
|Perceived efficacy of double-contract barium enema:|
- radiologists = 75%
- primary care physicians = 33%
|American Journal of Roentgenology|
Although 86% of radiologists perform 1 or more screening double-contrast barium enema during a typical month, only 27% perform 11 or more procedures.
However, 15% of radiologists reported an increase in double-contrast barium enema volume, over the past 3 years, and 50% expect a further increase in the next 3 years.
The team found that only 8% believed that facility capacity and personnel were inadequate to meet a growing demand for double-contrast barium enemas in their region.
They also identified geographic region and belief in procedure efficacy to be predictors of double-contrast barium enema volume and referrals.
Dr Carrie Klabunde's team concluded, "Most diagnostic radiologists perform colorectal cancer screening with double-contrast barium enema, but procedure volumes are modest".
"Because primary care physicians view double-contrast barium enema less positively than do radiologists, radiologists' expectations for an increased volume of double-contrast barium enemas over the next few years may not be realized".