Childhood CT scans to search for symptoms avoidable

Friday July 18, 2014

Seeing children get injured in an accident is a horrific experience, as anyone in New Haven, Connecticut, would agree. Children are often unable to describe their injuries, making diagnosis difficult and requiring doctors to take all measures available at their disposal to determine the severity of the child’s injuries. This is especially true of a brain injury, where the damage is often internal and not immediately obvious.

Until now, children who suffered head injuries were diagnosed using the widely available computerized tomography (CT) scanning. However, it has since become known that CT scans may expose children to low levels of radiation, which could have a long-term impact on their health. Despite that risk and given the convenience and efficiency of the scan, the risk was generally accepted by parents and frequently used by doctors.

A recent study conducted at the University of California, Davis, Health System and the Boston Children’s Hospital indicates that it may be possible to avoid using the CT scan. Specifically, the study suggests that, if children only become unconscious and do not show any other symptoms, they may not have to undergo a CT scan. It may be necessary, though, to keep the children under observation for some time following the occurrence of the injury to determine if such other symptoms exist.

The fear of brain trauma is particularly concerning when children are involved. This is justified, since children have yet to develop into fully functional adult humans. Thus, while some risks may be accepted, it is always preferable to take a safer course when available. This new study offers new considerations for troubled parents.

Brain injuries have serious consequences. For those who have brain injuries, due to another’s negligence, consulting an attorney may be the first step in receiving the compensation needed to help mitigate some of those consequences.

Source: Central Valley Business Times, “UC Davis: Minor head injury no reason for CT scan in kids”, July 7, 2014

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