Observing children with head injuries for a longer period in the emergency department may lead to fewer brain scans and less unnecessary radiation exposure.
Researchers enrolled 1381 patients who presented with head injuries and found that every additional hour of observation reduced the likelihood that a child would receive a computed tomography (CT) scan. Ultimately, about half the children were observed in the emergency department, about a third were sent home without observation, and 17% received an immediate CT scan. Observation in the emergency department averaged 4 hours, but the investigators said the optimal time for observation isn’t clear.
From JAMA’s Daily News Site. JAMA. 2013;310(16):1664. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280479