Objectives: We aimed to investigate whether whole-body CT for children with trauma is associated with a different mortality than only selective CT.
Design: A multicenter, retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Nationwide trauma registry from 183 tertiary emergency medical centers in Japan.
Patients: We enrolled pediatric trauma patients less than 16 years old who underwent whole-body CT or selective CT from 2004 to 2014.
Interventions: We classified the patients into a whole-body CT group if they underwent head, chest, abdomen, and pelvis CT and a selective CT group if they underwent at least one, but not all, of the above scans.
Measurements and main results: We analyzed data from 9,170 eligible patients (males, 6,362 [69%]; median age, 9 yr [6-12 yr]). Of these, 3,501 (38%) underwent whole-body CT. The overall in-hospital mortality was 180 of 9,170 (2.0%), that of patients who underwent whole-body CT was 102 of 3,501 (2.9%), and that of patients who underwent selective CT was 78 of 5,669 (1.4%). After adjusted multilevel logistic regressions and propensity score matching, the whole-body CT group demonstrated no significant difference in terms of in-hospital mortality compared with the selective CT group. The adjusted odds ratios (whole-body CT vs selective CT) for in-hospital mortality were as follows: multilevel logistic regression model 1 (1.05 [95% CI, 0.70-1.56]); multilevel logistic regression model 2 (0.72 [95% CI, 0.44-1.17]); propensity score-matched model 1 (0.98 [95% CI, 0.65-1.47]); and propensity score-matched model 2 (0.71 [95% CI, 0.46-1.08]). Subgroup analyses also revealed similarities between CT selection and in-hospital mortality.
Conclusions: In this nationwide study, whole-body CT was frequently used among Japanese children with trauma. However, compared with the use of selective CT, our results did not support the use of whole-body CT to reduce in-hospital mortality. Selective use of imaging may result in less radiation exposure and provide more benefits than whole-body CT to pediatric trauma patients.