Appendicitis is the most common surgical emergency in children, and computed tomography (CT) imaging is a routine and accurate way to diagnose the condition. But medical tests like CT scans expose children to radiation and can lead to an increased risk of cancer later in life. As a result, experts recommend minimizing the use of CT scans and encourage the use of ultrasound instead. However, recent studies show that CT scans are still performed at a high rate in children with symptoms of appendicitis.
To better understand the use of CT and ultrasound for children with appendicitis, CERTAIN investigators looked at hospital data for children who had an appendectomy in Washington State from 2008 to 2013. In a new article, the authors share results of their study and discuss the public health campaign they launched in response.
Although the study showed the use of CT declined over five years, about 40% of children still received CT scans at some point. Dr. Meera Kotagal explains, “ultrasound studies can be difficult to perform and are very dependent on the skill of the person performing the study. Especially in non-pediatric hospitals, providers may not have the training or tools necessary to perform high-quality ultrasound.”
To tackle this important issue, the authors formed Safe and Sound—a collaboration of emergency medicine doctors, surgeons, radiologists, pediatricians, ultrasound technologists, and hospital leaders from all over the state. The program provides tools and training to clinicians and technicians that will improve the availability, use, and quality of ultrasound for appendicitis in kids.
Learn more about the Safe and Sound collaborative
Hospitals and medical centers partnering with Safe and Sound:
- Kadlec Regional Medical Center
- Madigan Army Medical Center
- Mary Bridge Children's Hospital
- Providence Centralia Hospital
- Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center
- Seattle Children's
- Skagit Valley Hospital
- Swedish Medical Center
- Valley Medical Center