Utility of routine serial computed tomography for blunt intracranial injury

Alexander Chao, Jonathan Pearl, Philip Perdue, Dennis Wang, Amy Bridgeman, Susan Kennedy, Geoff Ling, Peter Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


To determine the utility of routine serial head computed tomography (H-CT) for predicting need for invasive neurosurgical intervention in patients with blunt intracranial injuries (BICI). Patients treated at a Level I trauma center with BICI over a 4-year period were reviewed. Of the 4,273 blunt trauma patients evaluated, 9.7% (415/4,273) were diagnosed as having BICI. Invasive intervention (craniotomy, ICP monitoring, ventriculostomy, or angiogram) was performed in 41.2% (171/415) of patients with BICI. Of these, 94.7% (162/171) had the procedure performed as a result of the initial H-CT. The remaining 5.3% (9/171) had the intervention performed as a result of a subsequent H-CT. Serial H-CT documented worsening of BICI in 32.3% (64/198) of the patients, but only those who had significant corresponding clinical deterioration had an invasive procedure as a result. In patients with an unchanged or normal neurologic exam, a routine serial H-CT did not influence subsequent invasive neurosurgical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-876
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt trauma
  • Head computed tomography (H-CT)
  • Intensive care unit
  • Intracranial injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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