BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for children in the United States. The aim of this study was to develop and implement a guideline to reduce radiation exposure in the pediatric head injury patient by identifying the patient population where repeat imaging is necessary and to establish rapid brain protocol magnetic resonance imaging as the first-line modality.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review of trauma patients between 0 and 14 y of age admitted at a pediatric level 2 trauma center was performed between January 2013 and June 2019. The guideline established the appropriateness of repeat scans for patients with Glasgow Coma Scale >13 with clinical neurological deterioration or patients with Glasgow Coma Scale ≤13 and intracranial hemorrhagic lesion on initial head computed tomography (CT).
RESULTS: Our trauma registry included 592 patients during the study period, 415 before implementation and 161 after implementation. A total of 132 patients met inclusion criteria, 116 pre-guideline and 16 post-guideline. The number of patients receiving repeat head CTs significantly decreased from 34.5% to 6.3% (P < 0.02). There was also a significant decrease in the mean number of head CT/patient pre-guideline 1.63 (range 1-7) compared with post-guideline 1.06 (range 1-2) (P < 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: CT head imaging is invaluable in the initial trauma evaluation of pediatric patients. However, it can be overused, and the radiation may lead to long-term deleterious effects. Establishing a head imaging guideline which limits use with clinical criteria can be effective in reducing radiation exposure without missing injuries.
Published In/Presented At
Appelbaum, R., Hoover, T., Azari, S., Dunstan, M., Li, P. M., Sandhu, R., & Browne, M. (2020). Development and Implementation of a Pilot Radiation Reduction Protocol for Pediatric Head Injury. The Journal of surgical research, 255, 111–117. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2020.05.051
Pediatrics | Surgery
Peer Reviewed for front end display
Department of Surgery, Department of Surgery Faculty, Department of Surgery Residents, Fellows and Residents, USF-LVHN SELECT Program, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Students