Year : 2017  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-15

Mild head injury: Criteria for computed tomography scan

1 Department of Medical Radiography, Bayero University Kano, Kano, Nigeria
2 Department of Radiography, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
3 Department of Radiology, Bayero University Kano, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Yusuf Lawal
Department of Radiology, Bayero University, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2276-7096.207585

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Background: Mild head injury (MHI) is the most common type of head trauma, and represents the vast majority of the injuries seen in the trauma unit. Therefore, this study aimed to use the previously identified clinical risk factors to determine which category of patients with MHI does not need to undergo computed tomography (CT). This may save cost to patients and hospitals and thereby reduce radiation dose to patients, personnel, and members of the public. Methodology: This was a retrospective study conducted at the trauma unit of an academic hospital situated in Cape Metropolis. CT scans of 50 patients, 14 years and over who had MHI and underwent CT scan were serially retrieved from the archive. Patients' information, clinical presentation, and resultant CT findings were analyzed. Clinical risk factors were correlated with abnormal and normal CT scan findings. Data were analyzed using Chi-square statistics. Results: Twenty-three (46%) patients had abnormal CT findings, and all presented with one or more of these risk factors, namely, severe headache, skull fracture, scalp injury, loss of consciousness, and intoxication. The results were not statistically significant when compared with the normal CT scans group. Four patients (8%) with no risk factors had normal CT scans. All the patients who presented with the clinical risk factors of nausea and vomiting 6% (n = 50) and seizures 4% (n = 50) had normal CT scan findings. Conclusion: Certain clinical risk factors can be used to suggest the probability of abnormal CT scan in patients with MHI, whereas patients with no risk factors are more likely to have normal CT findings. Hence, the patients do not need to undergo CT scanning. Further studies with larger sample size may be helpful in validating these findings.

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