Background/aim: Head injuries are commonly seen in the pediatric population. Noncontrast enhanced cranial CT is the method of choice to detect possible traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concerns about ionizing radiation exposure make the evaluation more challenging. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) rules in predicting clinically important TBI and to determine the amount of medical resource waste and unnecessary radiation exposure.Materials and methods: This retrospective study included 1041 pediatric patients presented to the emergency department. The patients were divided into subgroups of "appropriate for cranial CT", "not appropriate for cranial CT" and "cranial CT/observation of patient; both are appropriate". To determine the effectiveness of the PECARN rules, data were analyzed according to the presence of pathological findings Results: "Appropriate for cranial CT" results can predict pathology presence 118,056-fold compared to the "not appropriate for cranial CT" results. With "cranial CT/observation of patient; both are appropriate" results, pathology presence was predicted 11,457-fold compared to "not appropriate for cranial CT" results.Conclusion: PECARN rules can predict pathology presence successfully in pediatric TBI. Using PECARN can decrease resource waste and exposure to ionizing radiation.
Keywords: Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network; cost; effectiveness; computed tomography.