Major trauma CT scanning: The experience of a regional trauma centre in the UK

  • Smith C
  • Woolrich-Burt L
  • Wellings R
 et al. 
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INTRODUCTION: Trauma remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity, particularly among young adults. A major trauma (whole-body) CT protocol based upon mechanism of injury was investigated in a busy emergency department.

METHODS: Trauma patients presenting in two 3-month periods before and after the introduction of a major trauma CT protocol were identified. The mechanism of injury, Injury Severity Score, radiological imaging performed and injuries detected were recorded.

RESULTS: More eligible patients received major trauma CT scanning post-protocol than pre-protocol (87/114 (76%) vs 44/94 (47%)). There were no adverse effects attributable to major trauma CT. Seventeen injuries were detected post-protocol that would not have been detected had imaging been conducted based on clinical suspicion rather than mechanism of injury. In three cases an immediate intervention was required.

CONCLUSION: Our major trauma CT protocol, based on mechanism of injury, resulted in substantial changes in clinical management in a small number of patients without any increase in adverse events. However, it is not a substitute for clinical acumen in the initial assessment of trauma patients.

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  • Christopher M. Smith

  • Louise Woolrich-Burt

  • Richard Wellings

  • Matthew L. Costa

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