Whole body CT for trauma reduces emergency department time for patients with lower extremity fractures
Tyler Smith, Kendal Weger, Scott Steenburg
Emerg Radiol . 2022 Jun;29(3):449-454. doi: 10.1007/s10140-022-02030-8. Epub 2022 Feb 15.
Background: Whole body CT in the setting of trauma has been shown to improve patient outcomes and decrease mortality in the emergency department (ED). Our institutional WBCT protocol allows for easy inclusion of the lower extremities, circumventing the need for diagnostic radiographs of the lower extremities. We hypothesized that this WBCT protocol would decrease time in the ED, reduce time to ED discharge, and decrease the number of lower extremity radiographs obtained in this patient population.
Purpose: To assess patient throughput in the ED by determining total time in the ED, number of lower extremity radiographs, cost of radiographs, and total cost of imaging before and after the implementation of a WBCT protocol for trauma.
Methods: The trauma registry from an urban level 1 trauma center was searched for blunt trauma patients 6 months before and 6 months after the implementation of a WBCT protocol for trauma. Time between admission and discharge from the ED, total number of radiographs, total radiographs cost, total cost of ED imaging, and radiation dose estimations before and after WBCT implementation were calculated.
Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in time in the ED (76 min, p = 0.033) and number of lower extremity radiographs (decreased by 2 per patient, p < 0.01) following the implementation of the WBCT for trauma protocol. The cost of radiographs was decreased by 28.5% (p = 0.013) but the total cost of ED imaging was increased by approximately 4 × (p < 0.0001). Calculated effective radiation dose to the lower extremities increased by a factor of 1.9 × after implementation of WBCT for trauma.
Conclusions: Implementation of a WBCT protocol for trauma resulted in statistically significant decreased time in the ED and decreased the number of radiographs at the expense of increased imaging costs and radiation exposure.
Read Full Article Here: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10140-022-02030-8