Study: Not all head-injured kids need imaging scans

Yesterday, we told you about an effort by Brigham and Women's Hospital to notify doctors of how much radiation patients had been exposed to through imaging scans. The effort sprung from concerns that some patients were being exposed to high or even very high levels of radiation after receiving frequent scans over the years.

Now, researchers are suggesting that providers can keep children from having to face the same risks by avoiding scans for head-injured children with a very low risk of serious injury. The study, which will appear in The Lancet, concludes that using guidelines to identify such children are very effective, and do much to reduce needless radiation exposure for children.

The researchers analyzed data on 42,000-odd children who'd had a head injury, and also looked at CT scan results for 35 percent of the children. Clinically important traumatic brain injuries had occurred in only 1 percent of those cases.

When the researchers applied a group of guidelines for assessing brain injury to the sample--including one set for children under the age of 2 and another for children ages 2 to 18--they accurately pinpointed 100 percent of the children who didn't have clinically important traumatic injuries.

To learn more about this study:
- read this HealthDay News piece