Improved pediatric multidetector body CT using a size-based color-coded format

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2002 Mar;178(3):721-6. doi: 10.2214/ajr.178.3.1780721.


Objective: CT technique should be adjusted while scanning infants and children. One format that has proven successful in simplifying pediatric care and reducing medical error is the size-based, color-coded Broselow-Luten pediatric system. This color-coded system can serve as a format for CT protocols. The purpose of this investigation was to compare variation (or error) occurrence and technologist preference for conventional and color-coded formats for pediatric multidetector body CT protocols.

Materials and methods: Multidetector CT examinations were set up using either a conventional or a color-coded format for a period of 6 weeks each. Variations (errors) from protocol parameters (including tube current, detector configuration, table speed, and IV contrast media dose) were tabulated. Qualitative assessment consisted of a survey of CT technologists (n = 20) for preference in six areas related to ease of use and clarity of the formats.

Results: There were 44 CT examinations (n = 30 infants and children) in the conventional group and 55 CT examinations (n = 31 infants and children) in the color-coded protocol format group. Overall, the number of errors was significantly less in the color-coded group (p < 0.01), with a significantly lower error percentage in individual parameters affecting radiation dose, including tube current, detector configuration, and table speed (p < 0.05). In all areas, the color-coded format was preferred over the conventional format (p < 0.0003).

Conclusion: Color-coded CT formatting is an extension of a clinical color-coded system. This system provides an easy, expeditious, consistent, and preferable format for general pediatric body CT protocols. Most importantly, the color-coded system can reduce variations (errors) in the radiology department.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Technology, Radiologic
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media