White children more likely than minorities to receive CT scans following minor head trauma

BOSTON – African-American and Hispanic children are less likely to receive a cranial computed tomography (CT) scan in an emergency department following minor head trauma than white children, according to University of Michigan research presented Oct. 14 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Boston.

While racial disparities in adult health care are well documented, less is known about the variations in pediatric, and specifically, Emergency Department care. Appropriate CT scan use can ensure optimal diagnosis. However, as CT scans emit "appreciable radiation," potentially increasing cancer risk, their overuse can be harmful and expensive.

In the study, "Cranial CT Use for Minor Head Trauma in Children is Associated with Race/Ethnicity," researchers at the University of Michigan and other institutions including University of California-Davis, reviewed existing data on children seeking care at one of 25 Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network trauma centers. The study looked at CT use following a head injury, based on the child's potential for traumatic brain injury.

source: University of Michigan Health System

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