Review of Interventions and Radiation Exposure from Chest Computed Tomography in Children with Blunt Trauma

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the radiation risk to a child undergoing trauma evaluation with chest computed tomography (CCT) for every clinically actionable injury identified.

Study design

This observational, cross-sectional study included all blunt trauma patients under 18 years of age undergoing CCT in a single urban emergency department. Via a retrospective chart review, therapeutic interventions done exclusively for chest injuries identified on CCT scan were identified. Effective radiation from each CCT was calculated and averaged and the dose required to diagnose 1 management-changing chest injury was determined.

Results

Of 209 children undergoing CCT over a 19-month period, 168 were victims of blunt trauma. Ten required an intervention specifically for a chest injury identified on CCT (suggesting development of 1 malignancy per 37 actionable injures identified). None required an intervention for an injury exclusively noted on CCT, as all 10 actionable injuries were apparent via other modalities (radiograph, ultrasound examination, clinical examination).

Conclusion

Although 10 uniquely actionable injuries were identified on CCT, none were found only on CCT. Because CCTs rarely modified management, the amount of radiation administered per management change was sufficiently high to recommend reconsideration of current imaging practice in this single-center study.

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