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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1998 Dec;26(6):389-95.

The value of ultrafast computed tomography in the investigation of pediatric chest disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Ultrafast computed tomography (CT) can be performed in almost all children with little or no sedation. The benefit has to be balanced against financial cost and radiation dose. Since observing a steady increase in numbers of scans performed, we analyzed the contribution to management of 106 pediatric chest CT scans performed over a 12-month period. Forty-eight of 106 yielded a positive diagnosis and a further 43/106 provided clearly useful information. CT was most useful in children with chronic productive cough (21/48 scans showed bronchiectasis) and suspected interstitial lung disease. It was least useful in the preoperative assessment of empyema complicating community-acquired pneumonia (0/11 scans giving information that changed management). We conclude that the increased ease of performance of chest CT in children has not led to a large number of inappropriate requests. In the large majority of cases, diagnostically useful information was provided.

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