Diagnostic accuracy of a step-up imaging strategy in pediatric patients with blunt abdominal trauma

J. Van Schuppen, D. C. Olthof, J. C.H. Wilde, L. F.M. Beenen, R. R. Van Rijn, J. C. Goslings

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) is an important but often unrecognized cause of death in children. Imaging plays a vital role in the early detection of abdominal trauma. The exact role of imaging in the management of BAT in children is still under research. The aim of this study was to assess diagnostic accuracy of a step-up imaging strategy, where the decision to observe or to perform an intervention depends on the vital parameters of the patient, in combination with the presence or absence of free fluid at Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) and the findings on CT (performed selectively), for pediatric patients presenting to the ED with a blunt abdominal trauma. Methods Consecutive patients aged ≤16 years admitted between January 2008 and December 2012 to a Dutch level 1 trauma centre were included in this retrospective study. Sensitivity, negative predictive value (NPV) and the negative likelihood ratio (LR-) of the imaging strategy were calculated. Results The cohort consisted of 122 patients; 66 (54%) patients were discharged home after primary survey, 51 (41%) patients were admitted and observed, 3 (2%) patients underwent transarterial embolization and 2 (2%) patients underwent surgery. Treatment failed in 1 patient, initially selected for observation. The sensitivity of the imaging strategy was 0.833 (0.446-0.990). The NPV and LR- were 0.991 (0.963-1.000) and 0.167 (0.028-0.997), respectively. Conclusion The step-up imaging strategy that is applied in our academic level 1 trauma centre has a high sensitivity and a high negative predictive value. No clinically relevant injuries were missed without doing unnecessary harm, e.g. radiation or an intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-211
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt abdominal trauma
  • Children
  • Diagnosis
  • Imaging


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