Abstract| Volume 41, ISSUE 4, P449, October 2011

Rising Use of CT in Child Visits to the Emergency Department in the United States, 1995–2008

Larson DB, Johnson LW, Schnell BM, et al. Radiology 2011;259:793–801.
      In the last few decades, computed tomography (CT) use has increased substantially in the general emergency medicine population. This study sampled data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1995–2008 in an attempt to examine the use of CT in the pediatric population in emergency departments in the United States. Each year, between 5072 and 9725 pediatric visits were sampled, with a mean of 7375 visits. The number of visits associated with CT increased from 1.2% to 5.9%, a 4.8-fold increase. The compound annual growth rate was 12.8%. This effect was less pronounced at pediatric-specific facilities, but there was still a substantial increase. Additionally, the percent visits with CT increased across all age groups, from infant to adolescent, but was most prominent in the adolescent group. The most common chief complaint that resulted in CT scan was head injury (34% in 2008), whereas the greatest relative increase was for the chief complaint of abdominal pain (0.6% in 1995 to 14.9% in 2008).
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