Cervical spine injury prediction rule could decrease radiation exposure in children: Study

Researchers from the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network found that a clinical prediction rule can be used to identify neck injuries in children and reduce the need for imaging.

The new model incorporates nine risk factors identified in physical exams, according to a June 6 news release from PECARN. Of the 22,000 study participants, 0.2% without any of the risk factors had a clinically significant cervical spine injury, meaning that children can be safely evaluated without imaging.

“Quickly and accurately identifying children with potentially severe injuries is crucial for emergency medical providers,” Julie Leonard, MD, who led the study, said in the release. “Our extensive, multicenter study demonstrates that using this rule, which relies on self-reported symptoms and physical examination, can prevent unnecessary radiation in children.” 

The findings were published June 4 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.