Choosing Wisely:

Avoid the routine use of “whole-body” diagnostic CT scanning in patients with minor or single system trauma.

Rationale and Comments: Aggressive use of “whole-body” CT scanning improves early diagnosis of injury and may even positively impact survival in polytrauma patients. However, the significance of radiation exposure as well as costs associated with these studies must be considered, especially in patients with low energy mechanisms of injury and absent physical examination findings consistent with major trauma.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Sources:
  • Expert consensus
  • Disciplines:
  • Emergency medicine
  • References: • Huber-Wagner S, Lefering R, Qvick LM, Körner M, Kay MV, Pfeifer KJ, Reiser M, Mutschler W, Kanz KG; Working Group on Polytrauma of the German Trauma Society. Effect of whole-body CT during trauma resuscitation on survival: a retrospective, multicentre study. Lancet. 2009 Apr 25;373(9673):1455-61.
    • Stengel D, Ottersbach C, Matthes G, Weigeldt M, Grundei S, Rademacher G, Tittel A, Mutze S, Ekkernkamp A, Frank M, Schmucker U, Seifert J. Accuracy of single-pass whole-body computed tomography for detection of injuries in patients with blunt major trauma. CMAJ. 2012 May 15;184(8):869-76.
    • Ahmadinia K, Smucker JB, Nash CL, Vallier HA. Radiation exposure has increased in trauma patients over time. J Trauma. 2012 Feb;72(2):410-5.
    • Winslow JE, Hinshaw JW, Hughes MJ, Williams RC, Bozeman WP. Quantitative assessment of diagnostic radiation doses in adult blunt trauma patients. Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Aug;52(2):93-7.

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