Emergency Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 499–504 | Cite as

An assessment of repeat computed tomography utilization in the emergency department in the setting of blunt trauma

  • Michael J. BurlaEmail author
  • Judith Boura
  • Lihua Qu
  • Jeffrey S. Ditkoff
  • David A. Berger
Original Article



Computed tomography (CT) is a standard imaging modality utilized during the evaluation of trauma patients in the emergency department (ED). However, while it is common to utilize intravenous (IV) contrast as an adjunct, the use of multiple CT scans and how it impacts patient flow can lead to changes in patient management. Our objectives are to assess length of stay (LOS) and rates of acute kidney injury (AKI), when two CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis are performed compared to one CT scan.


Data of trauma hospital encounters were retrospectively collected during a 5-year period at a large, level 1 trauma center. Encounters were categorized into patients who received one or two CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis, as well as if they had received IV contrast or not. CT scan reads were extracted from chart records, and groups were compared.


Of 5787 patient encounters, 5335 (93.4%) received IV contrast and 75 (1.3%) received two CT scans. Lower rates of AKI were associated with IV contrast (2.5 vs 12.5%). Receiving two CT scans was associated with increased rates of AKI (20.0 vs 3.0%; p < 0.0001), ICU admissions (88.0 vs 25.1%; p < 0.0001), and hospital LOS (21.9 vs 1.4 days; p < 0.0001). Of the repeat CT scans, 59.4% demonstrated no significant difference and did not require blood products or the operating room.


Two CT scans performed during blunt trauma encounters demonstrated mixed benefit and were associated with an increased hospital LOS. Additionally, IV contrast was associated with lower rates of AKI.


Blunt trauma Length of stay Emergency department Computed tomography Injury severity score 


Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by our hospital’s institutional review board.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineWilliam Beaumont HospitalRoyal OakUSA
  2. 2.Oakland University William Beaumont School of MedicineRochesterUSA

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