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J Pediatr. 2014 Jun;164(6):1274-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.12.041. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Utility of head computed tomography in children with a single extremity fracture.

Author information

  • 1Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH. Electronic address: paria.wilson@gmail.com.
  • 2Division of Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.
  • 3Department of Radiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.
  • 4Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the clinical and forensic utility of head computed tomography (CT) in children younger than 2 years of age with an acute isolated extremity fracture and an otherwise-negative skeletal survey.

STUDY DESIGN:

Retrospective chart review of children younger than 2 years of age who obtained a skeletal survey in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Emergency Department during the 159-month study period. Clinically important head injury was determined based on previously defined Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network criteria. Forensically significant head injury was defined as that which increased the concern for inflicted injury. The rate of head CT relative to patient age and location of fracture (proximal vs distal extremity, upper vs. lower extremity) was determined via χ2 tests.

RESULTS:

Of the 320 children evaluated, 37% received neuroimaging, 95.7% of which had no signs of skull fracture or intracranial trauma. Five children (4.3%) with head imaging had traumatic findings but no children in the study had clinically significant head injury. Three of these children had previous concerns for nonaccidental trauma and findings on head CT that were forensically significant. There was a greater rate of head imaging in children in the younger age groups and those with proximal extremity fractures (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

In young children who present with an isolated extremity fracture, clinicians should consider obtaining head CT in those who are younger than 12 months of age, have proximal extremity fractures, or who have previous evaluations for nonaccidental trauma. Evaluation with head CT in children without these risk factors may be low yield.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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