The use of a portable head CT scanner in the intensive care unit

J Neurosci Nurs. 2010 Apr;42(2):109-16. doi: 10.1097/jnn.0b013e3181ce5c5b.


Transport of critically ill intensive care unit (ICU) patients may be hazardous. In this study, we examined the use of a portable head CT scanner (CereTom) in the ICU to assess its feasibility, safety, and radiological quality. Two hundred and twenty-five portable head CT scans were obtained from 114 patients (mean age = 57 +/- 18 years) treated in a neurosurgical intensive care unit at a university-based Level I trauma center. Patient radiological and ICU records were retrospectively reviewed. The vast majority of portable CT scans were performed after an intracranial procedure (24%) due to neurological deterioration (16%) or in routine follow-up (16%). Diagnostic quality was judged to be adequate, and no scans needed to be repeated because of poor quality. No scans were complicated by accidental disconnection of an intravenous line. In ventilated patients, there were no interruptions in mechanical ventilation and no inadvertent extubations. In addition, continuous intracranial monitoring, when in use, remained connected. The average total time to perform a portable head CT scan was 19.5 +/- 3.5 min. The actual scan time was 2.5 +/- 0.7 min. These results suggest that the portable CT scanner (CereTom) is feasible, easy to use, and safe and provides adequate radiological quality for diagnostic decisions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Critical Care / organization & administration*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Patients' Rooms
  • Pennsylvania
  • Point-of-Care Systems / organization & administration*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Time and Motion Studies
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed / statistics & numerical data*
  • Trauma Centers