Ultra-low Dose CT Accurately Detects Pediatric Fractures

March 25, 2016

Ultra-low dose CT to detect joint fractures in children as good as standard CT imaging.

CT scans for pediatric joint fractures can be performed with a much lower amount of CT radiation without compromising image quality, according to a presentation at the 2016 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting.

Researchers from NYU Langone and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in New York developed a protocol called REDUCTION (Reduced Effective Dose Using Computed Tomography In Orthopaedic Injury) and evaluated the differences between the ultra-low dose radiation CT scans and standard CT scans.

Fifty patients who presented with clinical joint fractures underwent ultra-low dose scanning, and these images were compared to a sample of age-matched similar fracture injuries, imaged by standard CT. The researchers found that the low-dose CT achieved 98% sensitivity and 89% specificity among the patients who underwent ultra-low dose screening, results that were similar to standard CT scans, which had a sensitivity of 98% and specificity of 85%. The orthopedic surgeons rated the ultra-low dose images as moderate to near perfect.

"We have taken a frequently used and necessary imaging test and made it safer," lead study author Sanjit R. Konda, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone and director of orthopedic trauma at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, said in a release. "Providing patients with a CT scan with 14-times less radiation could have significant implications from a public health and safety standpoint."

"The ability to perform ultra-low dose radiation CT scans without compromising image quality demonstrates the comprehensive capabilities of this protocol," senior study author Kenneth A. Egol, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and chief of the division of the orthopedic trauma surgery at NYU Langone, added in the release. "Patients who undergo a traumatic injury or suspected fracture have enough to worry about. Our research makes radiation exposure among the least of their concerns."

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