Kids With Minor Head Injury May Not Need Hospitalization

OK to discharge most children with normal CT scan after minor blunt trauma, study suggests

FRIDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalization for further observation isn't necessary for most children who've suffered minor blunt head trauma and have normal CT scans, a new study indicates.

Researchers examined data from 13,543 U.S. children aged 18 years and younger with minor blunt head trauma, who were treated at 25 emergency departments across the country between 2004 and 2006.

Of those children, less than 1 percent had abnormal CT scans or MRIs and none of them required neurosurgery, according to the report published in the June 17 online edition of the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Although blunt head trauma is the leading cause of death in children over 1 year of age, these findings show that children with normal CT scans following minor blunt head trauma are at low risk for serious problems, the researchers explained.

"We now have definitive evidence supporting discharging most neurologically normal children with head trauma after negative CT scans home from the emergency department," lead author James Homes, a professor of medicine in the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, said in a university news release.

"Sending these patients home with their parents not only provides good, safe care but it also saves costs. It is a win for everyone concerned," he added.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about head injuries in children.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: University of California, Davis Health System, news release, June 17, 2011

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