Poll of the Week: Are CT scans on children in the ER overused?

April 5, 2011

The use of CT scans on children in the emergency room has increased fivefold since 1995, raising concerns about radiation exposure.

The use of CT scans on children in the emergency room has increased fivefold since 1995, raising concerns about radiation exposure.

Between 1995 and 2008, pediatric ER visits with a CT scan increased to 1.65 million, a compound annual growth rate of 13.2 percent, according to a recent study published in Radiology.

The increase is likely due to CT technology advancements. But researchers noted that some radiology departments might not consistently tailor the CT technique to the child’s size. Treating physicians should ensure appropriate scanning indications to minimize pediatric radiation exposure, researchers said.

What do you think? Are CT scans used inappropriately on children?