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Radiology. 2016 May;279(2):395-9. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2015151509. Epub 2015 Dec 22.

Completion CT of Chest, Abdomen, and Pelvis after Acute Head and Cervical Spine Trauma: Incidence of Acute Traumatic Findings in the Setting of Low-Velocity Trauma.

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From the Department of Radiology, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, New Haven, CT 06510.



To determine the frequency of acute traumatic findings in computed tomographic (CT) chest abdomen pelvis (CAP) examinations in patients with acute traumatic head and/or cervical spine injury and no evidence suggesting bodily injury.


After institutional review board approval with a waiver of informed consent was obtained, a HIPAA-compliant retrospective study was performed. A review of the electronic medical records and dictated reports identified patients who met the following criteria: CT-documented acute head and/or cervical spine trauma, CT CAP performed at least 20 minutes after initial brain and/or cervical spine CT, and no evidence of bodily injury at physical examination or on initial plain radiographs. The types of head and/or cervical injury, as well as mechanisms of injury in these patients, were analyzed. The frequency of acute traumatic injury in the CT CAP examinations was also determined, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.


There were 115 patients who met the study criteria (average age, 67.3 years). Sixty-three (54.8%) patients were male. The average injury severity score was 9.3. No patients who met the criteria for this study were found to have an acute traumatic injury to the chest, abdomen, or pelvis. These 115 CT CAP examinations comprised 7.5% (115 of 1530) of all CT CAP examinations performed in the emergency department over the 15-month study period.


CT CAP examinations rarely if ever reveal acute traumatic injury in patients who have experienced low-velocity trauma and have acute head and/or cervical spine trauma in the absence of evidence of bodily injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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