The utilization of pediatric computed tomography in a large Israeli Health Maintenance Organization

Gabriel Chodick*, Cécile Ronckers, Elaine Ron, Varda Shalev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Concern has been raised about the potential risks related to radiation exposure from CT scans, particularly among children. However, to date, there are few data available describing the magnitude of pediatric CT utilization. Objective: The aim of the study was to explore patterns of CT use in pediatric patients, with respect to time, use of multiple scans, body regions imaged, and medical diagnoses. Materials and methods: Records of 22,223 scans performed on 18,075 people aged ≤ 18 years over the period 1999-2003, including diagnoses recorded within 21 days after the examination, were obtained from a large Israeli Health Maintenance Organization (1,600,000 members). Results: The highest annual CT examination rate (per 1,000) was recorded in 2001 (10.1) compared to 7.0 and 6.3 in 1999 and 2003, respectively. The lowest rate (three scans per 1,000) was found for 3-year-old children, with increasing rates with age. The head was the most frequently scanned region, both in young children (78%) and adolescents (39%). Symptoms of ill-defined conditions and injuries were documented in 22% and 10% of all scans, respectively. Conclusions: Although the results suggest that children comprise only 3% of all patients undergoing CT, this important modality must be carefully used because of their increased radiosensitivity, higher effective radiation doses, and longer life expectancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-490
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • Children
  • Israel
  • Radiation


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