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White children far more likely to receive CT scans than Hispanic, African-American children
Date:10/16/2011

data compiled for a seminal 2009 study by UC Davis authors, which found that CT scans are not necessary for children at very low risk of clinically significant traumatic brain injury.

The 2009 study was lead by Nathan Kuppermann, co-author of the current study and chair of the UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine. That study enrolled more than 40,000 children nationwide with minor head trauma who presented at 25 U.S. emergency departments, under the auspices of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) between 2004 and 2006.

The current study found that a child's race and/or ethnicity did not influence the likelihood of receiving a CT scan among children with minor head trauma at the greatest risk of having a clinically important brain injury. However, among lower-risk children, non-Hispanic white children were more likely to receive a CT scan than were non-Hispanic African-American children and children of Hispanic descent.

In addition to the increased risks posed by radiation exposure, overuse of CT scans in non-Hispanic white children also has impacts on overall health-care costs, Natale said. She said that the overuse of CT scans is part of a well-documented pattern of providing more care than is necessary to individuals of certain racial and/or ethnic groups, which in turn places additional burdens on health-care costs.

"Clearly, further studies should focus on explaining racial differences in the use of emergent neuroimaging," Natale said. "Our study highlights the importance of strong, evidence-based guidelines to ensure equal and optimal care for all children."


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Contact: Phyllis Brown
phyllis.brown@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9023
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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