AAP: CT Overuse for White Children, Low Brain-Injury Risk

However, CT scan use does not differ by race for children at high risk for traumatic brain injury

FRIDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- For children presenting to the emergency department with a minor head injury, racial disparity in the receipt of cranial computed tomography (CT) scans varies according to the risk for traumatic brain injury, according to a study being presented at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 15 to 18 in Boston.

Alexander Rogers, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues investigated racial disparities in the use of cranial CT scans for children presenting to the emergency department with minor head injury. Data were collected from 42,412 children evaluated for head trauma at one of the 25 Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network trauma centers included in the analysis. Of these, 39,717 (94 percent) children with potential clinically important brain injury had a recorded race of Hispanic, African-American, or white.

The investigators found that 13,793 (35 percent) children received a cranial CT scan. The likelihood of CT scan use did not significantly differ by race or ethnicity for children at higher risk of clinically important brain injury. However, among the population with the lowest-risk of clinically important brain injury, white children were significantly more likely to receive CT scans than Hispanic and African-American children.

"The cause of this disparity is likely multi-factorial, but this study highlights the importance of strong, evidence-based guidelines to assure equal and optimal care," Rogers said in a statement.

Abstract No. 13084
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