Research Reports - Incidental findings on computed tomography scans in children with mild head trauma

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 Jun 19

Ortega HW, Vander Velden H, Reid S

Background. Computed tomography (CT) scans are frequently used in managing
traumatic brain injuries in children. Objective. To assess incidental findings in
children with head trauma undergoing CT scan and to describe any associated
clinical ramifications. Materials and methods. Retrospective review of 524
children treated in 2 emergency departments for closed head injury who received a
CT scan. Results. Overall, 137 (26.2%) patients had an incidental finding on CT
scan. The most common incidental finding was sinus opacification with an air
fluid level (115/137, 83.9%). Thirty-five interventions were reported in children
with incidental findings. Children 2 years old or younger were more likely to
receive a prescription for antibiotics (relative risk [RR] = 2.66, 95% confidence
interval [CI] = 1.08-6.51) and be referred to a specialist (RR = 10.26, 95% CI =
3.56-29.56) than older children. Conclusion. Incidental findings in minor head
trauma are common. Clinicians should be prepared to address these findings if
clinically indicated.

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