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Skull X-ray in trauma Skull X-ray in trauma To do or not to do? Dr Pauline Louw “No head injury is so serious that it should be despaired of nor so trivial.

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Presentation on theme: "Skull X-ray in trauma Skull X-ray in trauma To do or not to do? Dr Pauline Louw “No head injury is so serious that it should be despaired of nor so trivial."— Presentation transcript:

1 Skull X-ray in trauma Skull X-ray in trauma To do or not to do? Dr Pauline Louw “No head injury is so serious that it should be despaired of nor so trivial that it can be ignored.”

2 Introduction Head injury common presentation to EC Most mild TBI (70-90% worldwide) 8% of Mild TBI has intracranial pathology (95% CI 3-13%) 1% of these will require neurosurgical intervention Does plain Scull X-ray have a place in the assessment of mild TBI in the EC??

3 Does this patient need a CT head? Depressed skull fracture

4 Does this patient need a CT head?

5 Linear skull fractureGrowing fracture Leptomeningeal cyst Traumatic meningocele Cerebrocranial erosion Cephalhydrocele Meningocele Spuria

6 Does this patient need a CT head? Right parietal fracture

7 Does this patient need a CT head? Pneumocephalus

8 Does this patient need a CT head? Normal X-ray

9 Does this patient need a CT head? A B

10 Guidelines Different guidelines available: – North America – No SXR, CT choice – ACEP – No SXR, CT choice – Europe (EBIC) – CT choice – NICE – CT choice, SXR for NAI and per discussion – SIGN – CT but pro SXR where risk factors present – Australia – No SXR, Use Canadian CT rule – SA – WC guidelines Consensus in most guidelines = CT choice, No SXR ?MRI emerging modality to use in future

11 Canadian CT rule Validated rule 100% Sensitive 2 risk groups – High risk: At risk for neurosurgical intervention CT mandatory – Medium risk May have clinically important injury on CT, but not at risk for neurosurgery intervention CT/observation depending on resources

12 Canadian CT rule Inclusion: – Minor head injury, GCS 13-15 – Witnessed LOC, confusion or amnesia Exclusion – No trauma experienced – Younger than 16 – GCS <13 – On warfarin or coagulopathy – Has obvious open skull fracture

13 Canadian CT rule High risk: – Failure to reach GCS of 15 within 2 hours – Suspected open or depressed skull fracture – Sign of basal skull fracture – Vomiting more than once – Age over 65 Medium risk – Retrograde amnesia >30 min – Dangerous mechanism

14 New Orleans Criteria Recommend CT after minor TBI if: GCS=15 and one of the following – Headache – Vomiting – Age >60 years – Drug or alcohol intoxication – Deficits in short term memory – Seizure – Evidence of injury above clavicle 100% Sensitive

15 Western Cape What are the Western Cape guidelines? What are the WC indications for CT scan? What are the place of SXR in WC EC’s?

16 SXR Studies Multitude of studies looked at abolishing SXR From as early as 1977 and early 1980’s Included adult and paediatric population Still ongoing studies - 2008 Consensus in most countries other still debating especially in areas with limited CT access Most concluded that SXR is not needed

17 Cost effectiveness of CT Less than 10% of CT scans in Mild TBI positive findings, thus > 90% CT’s normal Are we wasting money with all these normal CT’s? Compare – CT vs. admission for observation – Discharge safely vs. lack of supervision at home – CT alone vs. CT and SXR + extra radiation – Guidelines vs. CT all

18 MRI in TBI Emerging modality to use – Controversial 10-20% missed injuries from CT MRI 30% more sensitive than CT in picking up intracranial injury in acute mild TBI Not shown yet if picking up additional injuries would change acute management of TBI Currently need more studies in EC timeframe No current EBM recommendations

19 MRI in TBI Advantages – Useful in sub-acute/chronic and limited acute setting – Better soft tissue definition – Better at Detecting DAI Small areas of contusion Subtle neuronal damage Posterior fossa: Cerebellum and brainstem

20 MRI in TBI Disadvantages – Not widely available and accessible – Patient monitoring problem – Long imaging time – Foreign bodies – Patient safety (pacemakers, previous ferromagnetic foreign bodies) – Cost constraints – Insensitive to acute SAH, parenchymal haemorrhage and fracture compared to CT – Patient motion artefacts

21 MRI images


23 Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

24 Important Points on SXR Not all skull fractures have intracranial injury Not all intracranial injuries have a skull fracture Objective not to diagnose skull fracture but risk for intracranial injury SXR low diagnostic yield Fractures easily missed or over diagnosed SXR give false sense of reassurance if normal

25 Summary CT modality of choice in whole spectrum of TBI No place for EC Skull X-ray in trauma MRI starting to gain favour, but limitations issue

26 So when do we use Skull X-ray? Trauma – Foreign body – Penetrating injuries (slot fracture and compound) – Growing fracture in child less than 1 year Medical – Multiple myeloma Paeds – NAI as part of skeletal survey

27 Multiple Myeloma

28 ?

29 References Reed MJ, Browning JG, Wilkinson AG. Can we abolish skull xrays for head injury? Arch Dis Child 2005;90:859–864 Glauser J. Head injury: Which patients need imaging? Which test is best? Clevelend Clin J Med 2004;71(4):353-357 Coles JP. Imaging after brain injury. Br J Anaesth 2007; 99: 49–60 Lee B, Newberg A. Neuroimaging in traumatic brain injury. NeuroRx 2005;2(2): 372-382 ACEP/CDC. Clinical Policy: Neuroimaging and decision making in adult mild traumatic brain injury in the acute setting. Ann Emerg Med 2008;52:714-748 NICE clinical guideline 56: Head injury: Triage, assessment, investigation and early management of head injury in infants, children and adults. NICE update 2007 Stiell IG, Wells G et al. Canadian CT head rule for patients with minor head injury. Lancet 2001;357:1391-6

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