Ever since the introduction of radiographic imaging, its utility in identifying injuries has been well documented and was incorporated in the workup of injured patients during advanced trauma life support algorithms [American College of Surgeons, 8th ed. Chicago, 2008]. More recently, computerized tomography (CT) has been shown to be more sensitive than radiography in the diagnosis of injury. Due to the increased use of CT scanning, concerns were raised regarding the associated exposure to ionizing radiation [N Engl J Med 357:2277-2284, 2007]. During the last several years, a significant amount of research has been published on this topic, most of it being incorporated in the BEIR VII Phase 2 report, published by the National Research Council of the National Academies [National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, 2006]. The current review will analyze the scientific basis for the concerns over the ionizing radiation associated with the use of CT scanning and will examine the accuracy of the typical advanced trauma life support work-up for diagnosis of injuries.
- Computerized tomography