PURPOSE: Computed tomography (CT) for minor head injury exposes a large number of children to ionizing radiation, with an associated increased lifetime risk of malignancy. To study imaging practices for children with minor head injury and the level of awareness of radiologists of the current clinical decision rules for minor traumatic brain injury (TBI).
METHODS: A questionnaire consisting of 17 questions was distributed electronically to 472 ESPR members. The questionnaire covered demographic information, employment status, years of experience and the current practice setting of the participants, the number of CTs performed for pediatric head trauma, awareness of clinical decision rules and use of shielding, pediatric CT protocol and MRI.
RESULTS: The response rate was 18.4%. The majority of participants was aged over 50 years and was full-time consultants. Regarding decision rules, 73.8% of respondents cited the NICE head injury guidelines, and 79% reported that the decision to perform CT was agreed between specialists. Shielding was used by 58.3% and 67.4% applied a specific pediatric protocol. MRI was not used for pediatric head trauma by 70.6% of respondents, although always available in 68.6% of cases. The reported obstacles to MRI use were machine availability (42.7%), the long acquisition time (39%) and patients' intolerance (18.3%), and less frequently the cost and the need for sedation.
CONCLUSION: There is room for decreasing the use of CT for pediatric minor TBI. The use of shielding and application of pediatric CT protocols constitute areas for improvement.
- Craniocerebral Trauma/diagnostic imaging
- Decision Support Techniques
- Guideline Adherence
- Practice Patterns, Physicians'/statistics & numerical data
- Radiation Protection
- Surveys and Questionnaires
- Tomography, X-Ray Computed/statistics & numerical data