The use of routine thoracoabdominal CT scans in the polytrauma patient to estimate obesity

David F. Ferguson, Bryce J. Busenlehner, Mark D. Rahm, Sachin M. Mehta, Juhee Song, Matthew L. Davis, H. Wayne Sampson, Christopher D. Chaput

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To utilize data from routine CT scans to quantify obesity in polytrauma patients without the need to obtain a height and weight. Design and Methods: We utilized a comprehensive database including multidetector CT thoracoabdominal images of all polytrauma patients admitted to a Level 1 trauma center. One thousand one hundred seventy-four patients were reviewed from 2006 to 2008 and of these, 162 had previous documentation of Body Mass Index (BMI) or height and weight measurements as an outpatient within 6 months of trauma activation and with a truncal girth smaller than the scanning area of the CT machine. Truncal Adiposity Volume (TAV) was calculated from three dimensional reconstructions (3DRs) of the CT scans of the thorax and abdomen obtained in the emergency department. Results: Statistical analysis yielded a fairly good correlation between TAV and BMI (correlation coefficient = 0.77; p-value < 0.0001). The intra-observer and inter-observer correlations in measuring TAV were high; 0.99 and 0.98 respectively. A linear regression equation of BMI on TAV was estimated and it had a form: 3DR BMI = 20.81+0.00064×TAV. In conclusion, TAV provides a reproducible means of evaluating obesity in trauma patients from routinely obtained CT scans. Conclusions: The TAV eliminates the often problematic task of obtaining a height and weight in a trauma patient and it correlates fairly well with the most commonly used clinical method of quantifying patient adiposity, BMI. This method may provide a more direct measurement of adiposity than does BMI, and holds promise for improving trauma care and research in the obese patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1003
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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