Indications for brain computed tomography scan after minor head injury

J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2011 Oct;4(4):472-6. doi: 10.4103/0974-2700.86631.


Aims: Minor head injury (MHI) is a common injury seen in Emergency Departments (ED). Computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain is a good method of investigation to diagnose intracranial lesions, but there is a disagreement about indications in MHI patients. We surveyed the post-traumatic symptoms, signs or past historical matters that can be used for the indication of brain CT scan.

Materials and methods: All patients with MHI who were older than 2 years, had a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score ≥13 and were referred to the ED, underwent brain CT scan. Data on age, headache, vomiting, loss of consciousness (LOC) or amnesia, post-traumatic seizure, physical evidence of trauma above the clavicles, alcohol intoxication, and anticoagulant usage were collected. The main outcome measure was the presence of lesions related to the trauma in brain CT scan. For categorical variables, Chi-square test was used.

Results: Six hundred and forty-two patients were examined by brain CT scan after MHI, and 388 patients (60.4%) did not have any risk indicator. Twenty patients (3.1%) had abnormal brain CT scans. The logistic regression model showed that headache (P=0.006), LOC or amnesia (P=0.024) and alcohol (P=0.036) were associated with abnormal brain CT.

Conclusions: WE SUGGESTED THAT ABNORMAL BRAIN CT SCAN RELATED TO THE TRAUMA AFTER MHI CAN BE PREDICTED BY THE PRESENCE OF ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING RISK INDICATORS: Headache, vomiting, LOC or amnesia, and alcohol intoxication. Thus, if any patient has these indicators following MHI, he must be considered as a high-risk MHI.

Keywords: Computed tomography; minor head injury; risk factor.