Routine whole body CT of high energy trauma patients leads to excessive radiation exposure
2016 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, ISSN 1757-7241, E-ISSN 1757-7241, Vol. 24, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
BACKGROUND: Whole body computed tomography (WBCT) is an important adjunct in trauma care, which is often part of standard protocol in initial management of trauma patients. However, WBCT exposes patients to a significant dose of radiation. The use of WBCT was assessed in a modern trauma cohort in Sweden.
METHODS: A two-center retrospective cohort study was performed. All consecutive trauma alert patients at a university hospital (July-December 2008), and a rural county hospital (January 2009- December 2010) were included. Patients were stratified into three groups (high, intermediate and low risk) based on documented suspected injuries at primary survey at the site of accident or at the emergency department. Injury severity score (ISS) was calculated. Case records were reviewed for clinical and radiological findings at the time of trauma, and during a ≥36 months of follow-up period to identify possible missed injuries.
RESULTS: A total of 523 patients were included in the study (university hospital n = 273; rural county hospital n = 250), out of which 475 patients (91.0 %) underwent radiological examinations, 290 patients (55.4 %) underwent WBCT, which identified trauma related findings in 125 patients (43.1 % of those examined). The high-risk group (n = 62) had a mean age of 38.5 years (21.1 SD). Mean ISS was 16.48 (18.14 SD). In this group, WBCT resulted in a positive finding in 38 (74.5 %) patients. In the intermediate-risk group (n = 322; mean age 37.66, 20.24 SD) ISS was 4.42 (6.30 SD). A positive finding on WBCT was found in 87 of the intermediate group patients (44.8 %). The low-risk group (n = 139; mean age 32.5 years; 21.4 SD) had a mean ISS of 0.84 (1.57 SD) with no positive findings on WBCT and no missed injuries in medical records at ≥36 months.
DISCUSSION: The risk of developing radiation induced cancer is significant for young people if exposed to relatively high dose radiation as is the case in WBCT. WBCT in high-energy trauma is important for planning of treatment in severely injured patients while it can be questioned in the seemingly not injured where it is used mainly to permit early discharge from the ED.
CONCLUSIONS: Risk stratification criteria could in this retrospective study identify high energy trauma patients not in need of radiological imaging. WBCT in high-energy trauma does not affect patient care if the patient is mentally alert, not intoxicated nor shows signs of other than minor injuries when evaluated by a trauma-team. The risk of missing important traumatic findings in these patients is very low. Observation of the patient with reexamination instead of imaging may be considered in this group of often young patients where radiation dose is an issue.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 24, no 1
Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-278958DOI: 10.1186/s13049-016-0199-2ISI: 000370592500001PubMedID: 26817669OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-278958DiVA: diva2:907258