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July 14, 1978

Is a Gastrointestinal Series Necessary in Patients With Gallstones?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Tex.

JAMA. 1978;240(2):146. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290020068030

CONSIDERABLE interest has been generated in recent years by the controversy surrounding the appropriate utilization of diagnostic procedures (Newsweek, May 9, 1977, pp 8490; US News & World Rep, March 28, 1977, pp 35-38). Hall's1 editorial entitled "Overutilization of Radiological Examinations" summarizes and discusses some of the impulses that lead physicians to overutilize radiological studies. Much of what he says represents his opinion and the opinions of others, but some statistical studies are quoted that lend strength to his argument. He quotes Bengmark et al2 and their report of a study of 935 patients in whom requests for combined oral cholecystography and upper gastrointestinal (GI) series were made. Their study showed that when symptoms were typical of one of the two systems studied, examination of the other system added no therapeutically important information. Hall suggested that once the pertinent diagnosis has been confirmed for patients scheduled for several