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Missed Opportunities to Decrease Radiation Exposure in Children with Renal Trauma



Efforts have been made to reduce use of computerized tomography in children with blunt abdominal injury. Computerized tomography may be overused in pediatric patients with renal trauma.

Materials and methods

We performed a retrospective chart review of all renal trauma patients younger than 18 years old treated at 2 urban trauma centers from 2002 to 2016. We collected demographic and clinical characteristics, renal trauma grades, urological interventions, and timing and use of computerized tomography and renal ultrasound.


During the study period 145 patients presented with blunt renal trauma. During hospitalization 46 patients (32%) underwent repeat computerized tomography. About 20% of repeat computerized tomograms were performed less than 48 hours after the first scan. After controlling for center, isolated injury (yes/no), stent placement, age and surgical interventions (yes/no) patients who underwent delayed imaging on their first scan had decreased odds of undergoing a second computerized tomogram (adjusted OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.05-0.9, p = 0.04). Number needed to treat to prevent 1 repeat scan in high grade renal trauma patients was 3 (95% CI 2-4). Estimated sensitivity and specificity for ultrasound monitoring to detect an abnormality requiring urological intervention are 50% and 94%, respectively.


Repeat computerized tomography in pediatric patients with renal trauma is common. Obtaining delayed imaging on the initial scan in patients with high grade renal trauma may prevent repeat scans. Renal ultrasound provides diagnostic usefulness in monitoring kidney injuries and should be considered before repeating computerized tomography.

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