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Computed tomography is not justified in every pediatric blunt trauma patient with a suspicious mechanism of injury

Published:April 21, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2014.04.024

      Abstract

      Objective

      Computed tomography (CT) has become an important tool for the diagnosis of intra-abdominal and chest injuries in patients with blunt trauma. The role of CT in conscious asymptomatic patients with a suspicious mechanism of injury remains controversial. This controversy intensifies in the management of pediatric blunt trauma patients, who are much more susceptible to radiation exposure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of abdominal and chest CT imaging in asymptomatic pediatric patients with a suspicious mechanism of injury.

      Methods

      Forty-two pediatric patients up to 15 years old were prospectively enrolled. All patients presented with a suspicious mechanism of blunt trauma and multisystem injury. They were neurologically intact and had no signs of injury to the abdomen or chest. Patients underwent CT imaging of the chest and abdomen as part of the initial evaluation.

      Results

      Thirty-one patients (74%) had a normal CT scan. Two patients of 11 with an abnormal CT scan required a change in management and were referred for observation in the Intensive Care Unit. None of the patients required surgical intervention.

      Conclusion

      The routine use of CT in asymptomatic pediatric patients with a suspicious mechanism of blunt trauma injury is not justified.
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