Background: Diagnostic imaging of pediatric blunt abdominal trauma is evolving in light of increased attention to radiation exposure. We hypothesize that the implementation of imaging guidelines has reduced total CT scans without missing clinically significant injury. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed blunt trauma patients age 0–17 with solid organ injury who underwent CT scan at our academic level 1 pediatric trauma center between 2005 and 2014. Variables including total annual trauma admissions and CT scans, demographics, injury characteristics, and procedures were recorded. Descriptive statistics, Fisher exact and rank sum testing were performed. p < 0.05 defined significance. Results: Overall percentage of abdominal CT scans decreased significantly after protocol implementation. There were 498 solid organ injuries in 403 subjects. There was a significant decrease in the median percentage of low grade injuries (1.3% versus 0.6%; p = 0.019) but no difference in high grade injuries (1.3% versus 1.1%; p = 0.394). No patient had death, readmission or delayed diagnosis of injury requiring intervention. Conclusion: Implementation of imaging guidelines for blunt abdominal trauma decreased the incidence of low grade solid organ injuries at our institution, but did not inhibit diagnosis and safe management of high grade injuries. Selective imaging of trauma patients decreases childhood radiation exposure and does not result in delayed bleeding or death. Level of evidence: Level III, retrospective study.
- Injury grade
- Solid organ
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health