Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Emergency Medicine


Elyse Watkins


Pediatric head injuries account for approximately 600,000 emergency department (ED) visits, over 6,000 deaths, and more than 60,000 hospital admissions annually in the United States. 1-3 Over a third of cranial computerized tomography scans performed for evaluation of pediatric head injuries are unnecessary. 1 Unnecessary scanning of pediatric patients increases their risk of radiation induced cancers by more than a third. 1,4 With appropriate knowledge and utilization of the initial assessment and predictor guidelines, like PECARN, the necessity of cranial CT scans vs observation in the management of blunt head trauma in pediatric patients in the ED will decrease the overuse of cranial CT scans and exposure to ionizing radiation. 1


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