A new tool may help determine the need for a computed tomography (CT) scan in children with minor head injuries.
The Canadian Assessment of Tomography for Childhood Injury (CATCH) rule guides physicians in deciding whether a child with minor head injury should receive a CT scan and helps reduce the number of scans.
More than 650,000 children with minor head injuries, resulting in loss of consciousness, amnesia, disorientation or vomiting, are seen each year in emergency departments in North American hospitals, the study said.
The use of CT scans for minor head injury in Canadian paediatric emergency departments increased to 53% in 2005 from 15% in 1995, the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal said.
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s Dr Osmond said that alongside diagnosing serious brain injuries, CT scans expose children to harmful effects of ionising radiation that may result in a high cancer risk.
“We believe CATCH rules can stabilise or reduce the number of children receiving a CT scan, thereby minimising healthcare costs and exposure to the potentially harmful effects of ionising radiation,” Osmond said.