Trends in CT Utilization for Pediatric Fall Patients in US Emergency Departments

Varun Shahi, Waleed Brinjikji, Harry J. Cloft, Kristen B. Thomas, David F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: Falls are a common cause of emergency department (ED) visits in the United States. We evaluated trends in computed tomography (CT) utilization for pediatric fall victims in the United States from 2001 to2010. Materials and Methods: Using the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2001 to 2010, we identified all visits of pediatric (aged <18years) patients presenting to EDs after falls. This database surveys approximately 500 EDs per year for 4 weeks providing national estimates on ED resource utilization and outcomes. We studied trends in CT utilization and proportion of visits with life-threatening conditions after falls. We also studied the association between CT utilization rates and demographic characteristics and admission status. Results: A total of 9763 unweighted observations for a total of 32,432,686 pediatric fall patients were seen in US EDs from 2001 to 2010. The proportion of pediatric fall patients receiving CT increased from 5.3% in 2001 to a peak of 16.6% in 2009 and decreased to 11.3% in 2010, whereas the proportion of pediatric fall patients with life-threatening conditions fluctuated between 1.2% and 3.3% during this period. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, each increasing year was independently associated with CT utilization (odds ratio [OR], 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-1.16). Patients aged 0-1 years had higher odds of CT utilization than patients aged 13-17 years (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 2.26-2.27). Conclusions: There was a twofold increase in CT utilization among pediatric fall visits from 2001 to 2010. When controlling for demographic and clinical variables, increasing year was independently associated with CT utilization. These findings suggest that CT may be overutilized among pediatric fall patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-903
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Computed tomography
  • Emergency department
  • Falls
  • Pediatric
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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