Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

"Drug mules" as a radiological challenge: Sensitivity and specificity in identifying internal cocaine in body packers, body pushers and body stuffers by computed tomography, plain radiography and Lodox


Flach, Patricia M; Ross, Steffen G; Ampanozi, G; Ebert, L; Germerott, T; Hatch, G M; Thali, M J; Patak, M A (2012). "Drug mules" as a radiological challenge: Sensitivity and specificity in identifying internal cocaine in body packers, body pushers and body stuffers by computed tomography, plain radiography and Lodox. European Journal of Radiology, 81(10):2518-2526.

Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of our study was to retrospectively evaluate the specificity, sensitivity and accuracy of computed tomography (CT), digital radiography (DR) and low-dose linear slit digital radiography (LSDR, Lodox(®)) in the detection of internal cocaine containers. METHODS: Institutional review board approval was obtained. The study collectively consisted of 83 patients (76 males, 7 females, 16-45 years) suspected of having incorporated cocaine drug containers. All underwent radiological imaging; a total of 135 exams were performed: nCT=35, nDR=70, nLSDR=30. An overall calculation of all "drug mules" and a specific evaluation of body packers, pushers and stuffers were performed. The gold standard was stool examination in a dedicated holding cell equipped with a drug toilet. RESULTS: There were 54 drug mules identified in this study. CT of all drug carriers showed the highest diagnostic accuracy 97.1%, sensitivity 100% and specificity 94.1%. DR in all cases was 71.4% accurate, 58.3% sensitive and 85.3% specific. LSDR of all patients with internal cocaine was 60% accurate, 57.9% sensitive and 63.4% specific. CONCLUSIONS: CT was the most accurate test studied. Therefore, the detection of internal cocaine drug packs should be performed by CT, rather than by conventional X-ray, in order to apply the most sensitive exam in the medico-legal investigation of suspected drug carriers. Nevertheless, the higher radiation applied by CT than by DR or LSDR needs to be considered. Future studies should include evaluation of low dose CT protocols in order to address germane issues and to reduce dosage.

Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of our study was to retrospectively evaluate the specificity, sensitivity and accuracy of computed tomography (CT), digital radiography (DR) and low-dose linear slit digital radiography (LSDR, Lodox(®)) in the detection of internal cocaine containers. METHODS: Institutional review board approval was obtained. The study collectively consisted of 83 patients (76 males, 7 females, 16-45 years) suspected of having incorporated cocaine drug containers. All underwent radiological imaging; a total of 135 exams were performed: nCT=35, nDR=70, nLSDR=30. An overall calculation of all "drug mules" and a specific evaluation of body packers, pushers and stuffers were performed. The gold standard was stool examination in a dedicated holding cell equipped with a drug toilet. RESULTS: There were 54 drug mules identified in this study. CT of all drug carriers showed the highest diagnostic accuracy 97.1%, sensitivity 100% and specificity 94.1%. DR in all cases was 71.4% accurate, 58.3% sensitive and 85.3% specific. LSDR of all patients with internal cocaine was 60% accurate, 57.9% sensitive and 63.4% specific. CONCLUSIONS: CT was the most accurate test studied. Therefore, the detection of internal cocaine drug packs should be performed by CT, rather than by conventional X-ray, in order to apply the most sensitive exam in the medico-legal investigation of suspected drug carriers. Nevertheless, the higher radiation applied by CT than by DR or LSDR needs to be considered. Future studies should include evaluation of low dose CT protocols in order to address germane issues and to reduce dosage.

Statistics

Citations

26 citations in Web of Science®
28 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:15 Jan 2012 08:23
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:17
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0720-048X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrad.2011.11.025
PubMed ID:22178312

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher