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Clinical Investigations in Critical Care |

Efficacy of Chest CT in a Pediatric ICU*: A Prospective Study

Karen E. Thomas, FRCR; Catherine M. Owens, FRCR; Joseph Britto, MD; Simon Nadel, MRCP; Parviz Habibi, FRCP; Rosemary Nicholson, MSc
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Diagnostic Radiology (Drs. Thomas and Owens and Ms. Nicholson) and Pediatrics (Drs. Britto, Nadel, and Habibi), Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

Correspondence to: Karen E. Thomas, FRCR, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, England W2 1NY; e-mail: karenthomas5@yahoo.com



Chest. 2000;117(6):1697-1705. doi:10.1378/chest.117.6.1697
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Study objectives: (1) To determine whether chest CT provides additional information compared with chest radiography regarding the nature of intrathoracic disease in critically ill children, (2) to determine whether such information alters clinical management, (3) to assess the role of a low-dose high-resolution CT (HRCT) protocol in pediatric ICU (PICU) patients.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Specialized PICU in a teaching hospital serving London and the south of England.

Patients: Twenty children (age range, 3 weeks to 12 years; median, 11 months) underwent chest CT during a 33-month period. Inclusion criteria were (1) inconclusive diagnosis from chest radiograph (CXR) or (2) CXR appearances inconsistent with high oxygenation or ventilatory requirements (Pao2 to fraction of inspired oxygen ratio < 30 or mean airway pressure> 15 cm H2O).

Interventions: Low-dose HRCT scans (50 mA, 2-mm slice thickness at intervals of 10 or 15 mm) were performed on 12 patients, and helical CT (50 to 250 mA; pitch, 1 to 1.5) performed on 8 patients.

Measurements and results: CT provided additional information regarding the nature of intrathoracic disease in 17 of 20 patients (85%) and resulted in changes to subsequent clinical management in 12 of 20 patients (60%).

Conclusions: Chest CT can add to the accuracy of intrathoracic diagnosis provided by the CXR and may directly influence the acute management of critically ill children. The CT protocol should be tailored to the clinical and radiologic question posed for each individual patient. Noncontiguous HRCT can often provide accurate assessment of pulmonary parenchymal and pleural disease at a reduced radiation dose compared with helical CT.

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