Children Undergoing More Diagnostic Imaging Procedures

Increasing proportion of scans are higher radiation, especially in inpatient, emergency settings

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children are undergoing more diagnostic imaging procedures (DIPs), with higher-radiation DIPs accounting for an increasing proportion, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in Pediatrics.

Trevor Tompane, M.P.H., from the University of California San Diego, and colleagues assessed the prevalence and characteristics of DIPs performed from 2001 to 2009 by pediatricians linked to a tertiary-care pediatric hospital in the Greater San Diego area.

Over the study period, the researchers found that 214,538 procedures were performed on 63,116 children. Performance of computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, and radiography all increased significantly. Higher-radiation procedures were more common for older male children seen in inpatient and emergency settings for gastrointestinal and congenital disorders. Children presenting with abdominal pain, headache, and head injury more commonly received higher-radiation procedures.

"DIPs are frequently performed in children, and higher-radiation DIPs account for an increasing proportion of DIPs performed, especially among children evaluated in the inpatient and emergency department settings and those with gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms, and congenital anomalies," Tompane and colleagues conclude.

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