Imaging algorithms and CT protocols in trauma patients: survey of Swiss emergency centers

R. Hinzpeter, T. Boehm, D. Boll, C. Constantin, F. Del Grande, V. Fretz, S. Leschka, T. Ohletz, M. Brönnimann, S. Schmidt, T. Treumann, P. A. Poletti, Hatem Alkadhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify imaging algorithms and indications, CT protocols, and radiation doses in polytrauma patients in Swiss trauma centres. Methods: An online survey with multiple choice questions and free-text responses was sent to authorized level-I trauma centres in Switzerland. Results: All centres responded and indicated that they have internal standardized imaging algorithms for polytrauma patients. Nine of 12 centres (75 %) perform whole-body CT (WBCT) after focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) and conventional radiography; 3/12 (25 %) use WBCT for initial imaging. Indications for WBCT were similar across centres being based on trauma mechanisms, vital signs, and presence of multiple injuries. Seven of 12 centres (58 %) perform an arterial and venous phase of the abdomen in split-bolus technique. Six of 12 centres (50 %) use multiphase protocols of the head (n = 3) and abdomen (n = 4), whereas 6/12 (50 %) use single-phase protocols for WBCT. Arm position was on the patient`s body during scanning (3/12, 25 %), alongside the body (2/12, 17 %), above the head (2/12, 17 %), or was changed during scanning (5/12, 42 %). Radiation doses showed large variations across centres ranging from 1268-3988 mGy*cm (DLP) per WBCT. Conclusions: Imaging algorithms in polytrauma patients are standardized within, but vary across Swiss trauma centres, similar to the individual WBCT protocols, resulting in large variations in associated radiation doses. Key Points: • Swiss trauma centres have internal standardized imaging algorithms for trauma patients • Whole-body CT is most commonly used for imaging of trauma patients • CT protocols and radiation doses vary greatly across Swiss trauma centres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1922-1928
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Algorithm
  • Computed tomography
  • Imaging
  • Radiation
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Imaging algorithms and CT protocols in trauma patients: survey of Swiss emergency centers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this