Background: CT scans are often used in the evaluation of blunt trauma patients. Many scans are negative. Clinical predictors of positive abdominal CT scans would be beneficial in patient care.
Methods: A prospective study of 213 patients at a Level I trauma center presenting with blunt trauma who underwent abdominal CT scan. Indications for CT scan were analyzed statistically, using univariate and multivariate models.
Results: Univariate chi2 tests showed abnormal pelvis x-ray (p = 0.0002) and an intubated patient (p = 0.03) were predictors of a positive CT scan. When subjected to multivariate logistic regression, these two indications were significant predictors of a positive CT scan, abnormal pelvis x-ray (p = 0.0005, OR=6.6, 95% CI), and an intubated patient (p = 0.02, OR=2.6, 95% CI). Univariate chi2 tests also showed that alcohol intoxication was statistically significant predictor of a negative CT scan (p = 0.03).
Conclusion: Our data suggest that an abnormal pelvis x-ray and intubation are significant risk factors for a positive CT scan. Alcohol intoxication, mechanism of injury, and unreliable examination, without other associated indication for a scan, may warrant further study.