While research published last fall suggested that the use of computed tomography to scan pediatric patients has been increasing, the opposite appears to be true according to researchers at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
In a study published online in Radiology Feb. 25, Bahman S. Roudsari, M.D., of the department of radiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues, retrospectively analyzed the records of more than 64,000 trauma patients between the ages of 0 and 54 from 1996 to 2010. They found that between 2008 and 2010, the use of CT on children and adolescents up to the age of 18 slightly decreased or remained stable for almost all CT exams, For pediatric patients under the age of 15, the use of CT for head injuries peaked in 2004, and then gradually declined through 2010.
What's more, pelvic and abdominal CT exams for patients under 15 peaked in 2005 and then decreased through 2010, although the use of these exams on this patient group was higher in 2010 than in 2000. While the same held true for spine and thoracic CT, the usage rate of those exams remained stable over the last five years, the researchers determined.
Patients for the study were divided into three age groups: 0 to 14 years old; 15 to 18 years; and 19 to 54 years.
According to an article in HealthImaging, the researchers said there could be several reasons why their findings seem to conflict with more recent studies, such as practice differences and methodology differences--including their focus on hospitalized pediatric patients.