Experiences of Patients with Computed Tomography (CT) Examinations: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Evidence

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Midland University Hospital Tullamore, Radiology Department, Co. Offaly, Ireland

2 Blackrock Clinic, Radiology Department, Dublin, Ireland


Introduction: Computed Tomography (CT) plays an important role in the diagnosis of diseases and injuries in medicine. The role of CT radiographers is to provide both patient care and high-quality images. This study was aimed at systematically reviewing all available empirical evidence on the experiences of patients with CT examinations to support evidence-based practice in radiography.
Methods: A qualitative research design was used to conduct this review. Five electronic databases including CINAHL,
PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Direct, African Journals, and Google Scholar, as well as other relevant sources, were searched for primary studies in October and November 2020. Critical appraisal of the relevant studies was carried out using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal checklists. The data were synthesized and analysed thematically.
Results: A total of 11 studies were identified and included in this review. Three main themes were identified: the before, during, and after experiences of patients with CT. It was clear that pre-knowledge about the CT examination, a warm welcome towards patients, an explanation of the procedure, comfort, a short scan time, empathy, effective communication, and distracting strategies positively affected patients. On the other hand, a long waiting time, fear and anxiety, embarrassment, discomfort and pain for some examinations, and an inadequate explanation of the process involved in obtaining the results negatively affected patients.
Conclusion: The experiences of patients with CT examinations largely depend on their interaction with radiographers. This
review findings, which are grounded on evidence, can inform the development of training methods and tools for eliciting
feedback from patients.