Background: Military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan treated children with traumatic injuries during the recent conflicts. Diagnostic imaging is an integral component of trauma management; however, few published data exist on its use in the wartime pediatric population. Objective: The authors describe the emergency department (ED) utilization of radiology resources for pediatric trauma patients in Iraq and Afghanistan. Materials and methods: We queried the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) for all pediatric patients admitted to military fixed-facility hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan from January 2007 to January 2016. We retrieved ED data on ultrasound (US), radiographic and computed tomography (CT) studies. Results: During the study period, there were 3,439 pediatric encounters, which represented 8.0% of all military hospital trauma admissions. ED providers obtained a total of 12,376 imaging studies on 2,920 (84.9%) children. Of the 12,376 imaging studies, 1,341 (10.8%) were US, 4,868 (39.3%) were radiographic and 6,167 (49.8%) were CT exams. Most children undergoing radiographic evaluation were boys (77.8%) and located in Afghanistan (70.4%), and they sustained penetrating injuries (68.0%). Children who underwent imaging had higher composite injury severity scores in comparison to those who did not undergo imaging (10 versus 9). Conclusion: Military health care providers frequently utilized radiographic studies in the evaluation of pediatric trauma casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Deployed military hospitals that treat children would benefit from dedicated pediatric-specific imaging training and protocols.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging