• The Use of Clinical Decision Rules to Reduce Unnecessary Head Ct Scans in Pediatric Populations

      Barrett, Jeffrey; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Panchanathan, Sarada (The University of Arizona., 2016-04-20)
      Background: Head computed tomography (CT) imaging is the gold standard study for rapidly identifying emergent traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Exposure to the ionizing radiation utilized in CT increases lifetime risk for developing neoplasms. Currently there is little consensus on appropriate use of CT imaging for children with mild head injury. Clinical decision rules (CDRs) have been developed to identify children at very low risk of clinically significant brain injury. While these CDRs have been validated, their implementation has not been as well studied. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of two CDRs in decreasing CT scan rate without missing clinically significant brain injuries. The two CDRs used in this study were the Children's Head Injury Algorithm for the Prediction of Important Clinical Events (CHALICE) and the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) algorithm. Both variations of the PECARN criteria for age 2 years and older and age <2 years were studied. Design/Methods: The medical records for patients with the diagnosis of head injury evaluated at the Maricopa Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Department for all of 2011 and 2012 were reviewed. A total of 331 charts were identified. The PECARN and CHALICE inclusion criteria and algorithms were applied to these charts to determine if the patients met criteria for CT scan. Patients with suspected non‐accidental injuries were excluded. Results: Of 331 patients, 238 met the inclusion criteria for CHALICE. 96 (40.3%) had CT scans performed. According to the algorithm, only 52 (21.8%) met criteria, which is an absolute rate reduction of 18.5%. One TBI was missed. 129 patients met the inclusion criteria for PECARN age 2 years and older. 73 (56.6%) had CT scans performed. 61 (47.2%) met criteria resulting in an absolute rate reduction of 9.4%. No TBIs were missed. 74 patients met inclusion criteria for PECARN age <2 years. Of these, 25 (33.7%) had CT scans performed and the same number met criteria resulting in no change in number of scans. One TBI was missed. Conclusions: Both the CHALICE and PECARN CDRs have the potential to reduce scan rates in our home institution. The CHALICE CDR would have resulted in a greater reduction in CT scans. PECARN also would have reduced the number of scans in children 2 years and older, but not in children <2 years old. The TBI that did not meet CDR criteria was also missed by clinical suspicion and a CT scan done on a later encounter was suspicious for a non‐accidental injury.