The value of ultrafast computed tomography in the investigation of pediatric chest disease

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1998 Dec;26(6):389-95. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0496(199812)26:6<389::aid-ppul3>;2-6.


Ultrafast computed tomography (CT) can be performed in almost all children with little or no sedation. The benefit has to be balanced against financial cost and radiation dose. Since observing a steady increase in numbers of scans performed, we analyzed the contribution to management of 106 pediatric chest CT scans performed over a 12-month period. Forty-eight of 106 yielded a positive diagnosis and a further 43/106 provided clearly useful information. CT was most useful in children with chronic productive cough (21/48 scans showed bronchiectasis) and suspected interstitial lung disease. It was least useful in the preoperative assessment of empyema complicating community-acquired pneumonia (0/11 scans giving information that changed management). We conclude that the increased ease of performance of chest CT in children has not led to a large number of inappropriate requests. In the large majority of cases, diagnostically useful information was provided.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*