Many pediatric chest X-rays unnecessary, offer no clinical benefit

Researchers at Mayo Clinic found that some children are receiving chest X-rays that may be unnecessary and offer no clinical benefit to the patient, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Chest X-rays can be a valuable exam when ordered for the correct indications," said Ann Packard, M.D., radiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "However, there are several indications where pediatric chest X-rays offer no benefit and likely should not be performed to decrease radiation dose and cost."

Dr. Packard and co-author, Kristen B. Thomas, M.D., head of the pediatric division at Mayo Clinic and assistant professor of radiology at Mayo Medical School, reviewed data from 719 pediatric chest X-ray exams ordered between 2008 and 2014 in Mayo Clinic's inpatient, outpatient and emergency room settings. The patients undergoing the exams ranged in age from newborn to 17 years old.

Of the 719 X-ray exams, 377 exams were ordered for chest pain, 98 indicated syncope (fainting) or presyncope, 21 indicated spells (a general feeling of being unwell or under distress), 37 indicated postural orthostatic hypotension (POTS)—a condition in which blood pressure drops suddenly when the individual stands up from sitting or lying down, 185 indicated dizziness, and one exam indicated cyclical vomiting. Eighty-two of the 719 exams were excluded due to congenital or other known heart disease, and other causes.

The researchers found that in approximately 88 percent of the remaining 637 patients, the exam did not alter clinical treatment.

None of the patients who underwent X-rays for indications including syncope, spells, POTS, dizziness or cyclical vomiting had any finding that affected treatment. Thirty-nine of the 330 non-excluded X-rays for chest pain were positive for pneumonia, bronchial inflammation, trauma, or other conditions.

"Approximately 12 percent of the chest X-rays for chest pain were positive and included respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever or trauma," Dr. Packard said. "There were no positive findings in any chest X-ray for syncope, dizziness, spells, cyclical vomiting or POTS for the past five years, even in our tertiary care center with referrals for rare diseases or unusual presentations."

Optimizing radiation exposure and cost effectiveness are important topics in today's healthcare environment, particularly in a pediatric population, Dr. Packard noted.

"This study addresses both of these issues, which is important not only for physicians but also for young patients and their parents," she said. "I would like this research to help guide clinicians and deter them from ordering unnecessary exams which offer no clinical benefit to the patient."

SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Access to urban vegetation can mitigate asthma risk for children, study finds