Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Medical conditions associated with the use of CT in children and young adults, Great Britain, 1995-2008

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Harbron, Professor Mark PearceORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Objective: To describe the medical conditions associated with the use of CT in children or young adults with no previous cancer diagnosis.Methods: Radiologist reports for scans performed in 1995-2008 in non-cancer patients less than 22 years of age were collected from the radiology information system in 44 hospitals of Great Britain. By semantic search, an automated procedure identified 185 medical conditions within the radiologist reports. Manual validation of a subsample by a paediatric radiologist showed a satisfactory performance of the automatic coding procedure.Results: Medical information was extracted for 37,807 scans; 19.5% scans were performed in children less than 5 years old; 52.0% scans were performed in 2000 or after. Trauma, diseases of the nervous (mainly hydrocephalus) or the circulatory system were each mentioned in 25-30% of scans. Hydrocephalus was mentioned in 19% of all scans, 59% of scans repeated >= 5 times in a year, and was the most frequent condition in children less than 5 years of age. Congenital diseases/malformations, disorders of the musculoskeletal system/connective tissues and infectious or respiratory diseases were each mentioned in 5-10% of scans. Suspicionor diagnosis of benign or malignant tumour was identified in 5% of scans.Conclusion: This study describes the medical conditions that likely underlie the use of CT in children in Great Britain. It shows that patients with hydrocephalus may receive high cumulative radiation exposures from CT in early life, i.e. at ages when they are most sensitive to radiation.Advances in knowledge: The majority of scans were unrelated to cancer suspicion. Repeated scans over time were mainly associated with the management of hydrocephalus.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Journy NM, McHugh K, Harbron RW, Pearce MS, De Gonzalez AB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Radiology

Year: 2016

Volume: 89

Issue: 1068

Print publication date: 01/12/2016

Online publication date: 23/11/2016

Acceptance date: 18/10/2016

Date deposited: 10/11/2016

ISSN (print): 0007-1285

ISSN (electronic): 1748-880X

Publisher: British Institute of Radiology


DOI: 10.1259/bjr.20160532


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric