, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 560-567

Pediatric CT scan usage in Japan: results of a hospital survey

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to examine the usage parameters of diagnostic computed tomography (CT) in children because of concerns of possible overuse in Japanese hospitals, including the “technical” CT exposure settings and the “clinical” grounds for CT requests.

Materials and methods

We examined the methodology at the radiology department to reduce radiation exposure to children and performed a retrospective study on pediatric CT requests during a 1-year period at Nagasaki University Hospital. The parameters of diagnostic CT usage for minor head trauma and acute appendicitis were studied in detail.

Results

CT radiation dose settings are adjusted for children based on guidelines issued by the Japan Radiological Society, with few limitations. CT requests were made for 62% of minor head trauma cases and 76% of cases clinically suspected to be acute appendicitis. These figures are considerably higher than those reported by studies in the United Kingdom, Canada, or the United States. No specific guidelines are advocated regarding CT usage for minor head trauma. The diagnosis of acute appendicitis in children is almost routinely referred for “confirmation” by CT.

Conclusion

CT radiation risks to children at Japanese hospitals need to be considered more seriously. Physicians should be encouraged to follow diagnostic algorithms that help avoid unnecessary CT usage in children.