Over time, the number of diagnostic imaging tests, radiation doses and related charges in trauma patients increased, with CT scans accounting for most of the radiation dose and costs, according to study results.
Researchers retrospectively reviewed 500 adult trauma patients per year from two urban level-1 trauma centers in the United States for the years 2002, 2005 and 2008 and calculated effective doses and total charges for radiography.
Study results showed most imaging was performed within 24 hours of injury. Use of CT scans increased significantly from 15% in 2002 to 33% in 2008. Similarly, the researchers found musculoskeletal CTs increased from 26% in 2002 to 49% in 2008, without change in patient acuity. Center one used mostly CT compared with center two, which used more projection radiography.
In 2002, mean effective dose per patient was 17.3 millisieverts (mSv), compared with 30 mSv in 2005 and 34.1 mSv in 2008. As a result of musculoskeletal studies, there was an increase in the percentage of total dose from 25% in 2002 to 29% in 2005 and 31% in 2008, according to the researchers.
In 2002, mean total charges per patient were $4,529, which increased to $6,922 in 2005 and $7,750 in 2008. Center one had higher mean charges in 2008 vs. center two due to more CT scans.
Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.