Understanding relevant negatives

relevant negative

The term relevant negative may seem like an odd phrase for a typically patient getting a scan. For a person not trained in radiology, they would be confused. Negative means that nothing was found, so why would that be relevant? A relevant negative can actually play a major role in deciphering an image. There are many cases that the negatives are irrelevant, but the few cases that it is a relevant negative, it is important to understand why. As a patient going through the diagnosis process can seem scary, but the doctors know what they are doing.A negative in a radiology scan is the absence of a specific finding. When you are getting a scan of your heart and the doctors are looking for a specific problem that particular one is not found in the scans. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem in your heart, just not the specific one they were initially looking for. A relevant negative can seem like a bad thing. It’s scary to think that the doctors can’t find what is wrong with you. A relevant negative means that doctors are one step closer in determining what actually is wrong.Relevant negatives can be a positive thing when concluding a patient’s problem. This becomes important when determining a patient’s differential diagnosis. The term differential diagnosis can be explained as having similar symptoms that fit multiple problems. It’s like the television series House. Patients come in with a variety of problems that could all be caused by different diseases. The doctors on the show come up with a list of diseases they think it is to determine the conclusion. Of course in the show, House skips a few steps by telling the doctors to simply treat the patient for all the diseases. This isn’t the most efficient approach to curing a disease. The medications can conflict and cause even more problems. This is why this practice is not done in real life.For real life doctors determining a differential diagnosis, they must run a series of tests and take a series of pictures. The doctor will come to the conclusion that it can be one of two or three possibilities. With this in mind, the doctor will order scans looking for these specific problems. If all of them come up as negative, it would be considered a relevant negative. Sure, it may mean that the doctor was completely wrong in the differential, but it gives the doctor a new aspect of the case to factor in. Ruling out those initial three diseases will lead the doctor closer to the final diagnosis.If you are in need of radiology scans, the radiologists at Steinberg Medical Imaging come highly recommended. Many patients report having a good experience with the radiologists at Steinberg Diagnostic. They treat their patients well and can help with all radiology needs: x-ray, CT, PET scan, mammogram, MRI, or ultrasound. For information about scheduling, contact 702.732.6000.

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