Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Safety and efficacy of symptom-driven CT decision rule in fully conscious paediatric patients with symptoms after mild closed head trauma
  1. Bo Xiao,
  2. Fang-Fang Wu,
  3. Hong Zhang,
  4. Yan-Bin Ma
  1. Neurosurgery Department, No. 3 People's Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
  1. Correspondence to Bo Xiao, No. 3 People's Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, 280 Mohe Rd., Baoshan District, Shanghai, China 201900; xiao977{at}


Objects The aim of the authors is to derive a safe, effective and feasible symptom-driven CT rule in fully conscious children ≥3 years with symptoms after head trauma, based on time-framed clinical course, radiological findings, outcome measures and prognosis of patients.

Methods Fully conscious but symptomatic children ≥3 years after head injury (1997–2010) with CT performance ≤2 h since injury were included in the study. Additional exclusion criteria were set for patient selection. Evolution of clinical symptoms of patients in 24 h since injury was the focus in current study. Clinical data were extracted from standardised medical records on admission and observation charts.

Results Data of 1897 eligible cases were retrospectively reviewed. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) was revealed radiologically in 73 cases (3.8%). Eight cases underwent surgery. Recursive partitioning analysis identified the following factors in the CT rule: any delayed headache commenced between 4 and 10 h since injury; significantly worsening headaches present between 2 and 12 h since injury; vomiting between 6 and 12 h since injury; and headache without significant changes persisted ≥12 h since injury. It has a sensitivity of 100% (95% CI 95.0% to 100.0%) and specificity of 72.1% (95% CI 70.0% to 74.1%) to predict cases with TBI.

Conclusions A symptom-driven CT rule has been derived to identify cases at high risk of having TBI in fully conscious, but symptomatic children with mild closed head injury. To be practical, an additional observation rule is added.

  • Mild closed head trauma
  • paediatrics
  • clinical symptoms
  • time duration
  • CT rule
  • trauma
  • head
  • hand injury
  • neurology
  • stroke

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the No. 3 People's Hospital Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Dataset are available from the corresponding author at xiao977{at} Consent from patients was not obtained, but the presented data are anonymised and risk of identification is low.