Heads Up on Head Injury Algorithms: The Cost of High Sensitivity

By Jeff Russ, MD, PhD – Pediatric/Child Neurology Resident, UCSF

Jeff Russ Headshot BW

Dr. Jeff Russ

Children presenting with head injury are as unremitting in children’s hospitals as the “Frozen” soundtrack, and any physician in a pediatric ED inevitably manages their fair share. The ramifications of missing significant injury to a child’s delicate, developing brain are unnerving. A head CT is central to catching intracranial pathology, but widespread use is not benign, given the risk of malignancy from unnecessary radiation. However, criteria for judiciously navigating this tradeoff remain debated. When is CT appropriate for children with GCS scores of 13-15 and mild symptoms like transient loss of consciousness or vomiting?
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