AAP: CT guidelines lower childrens health risks, cut costs

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Setting guidelines for CT scans of children with head injuries can lower patients’ risks of radiation overdose, reduce hospital stay times, improve patient and family satisfaction and cut costs, according to a study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The research, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), found that establishing CT guidelines at Cincinnati Children’s reduced the number of scans, shortened patients’ hospital stays and reduced average patients’ costs by $8,000. Following initial CTs of newly admitted patients, trauma physicians, neurosurgeons and nurses developed guidelines for further scanning of patients depending on whether patients’ injuries put them at low, normal or high risks.

The retrospective study looked at 712 patients admitted to the emergency room for blunt head trauma over a four year period.

“Implementation of a relatively simple guideline helps guide and standardize the plan of care in children diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury,” concluded Richard Falcone, MD, MPH, director of trauma services at Cincinnati Children’s, while “future and more widespread implementation of such guidelines can continue to improve overall care for injured children.”