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Minor head injuries may not require hospitalization for children

Although blunt head trauma is the leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 18, a new report has recently stated that children who suffer minor head traumas do not need to be hospitalized for their injuries. Researchers from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, are now recommending that children do not need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment for brain injuries if they have normal CT scans or MRIs.

The research was conducted through an examination of data from over 13,500 children aged 18 years of age and younger with minor blunt head trauma who were treated at 25 hospital emergency rooms across the United States between 2004 and 2006. Researchers found that less than one percent of the children studied had abnormal MRI or CT scans, and none of them required neurosurgery for their head injury.

Therefore, the researchers deduced, the vast majority of children who seek emergency medical treatment for blunt head trauma have sustained minor injuries that do not require short- or long-term hospitalization or invasive medical treatment. This is because children who have normal CT or MRI scans following a minor head trauma are generally at low risk for serious brain injuries or other problems.

"We now have definitive evidence supporting discharging most neurologically normal children with head trauma after negative CT scans home from the emergency department," said James Holmes, a lead researcher and UC Davis professor of medicine. "Sending these patients home with their parents not only provides good, safe care but it also saves costs. It is a win for everyone involved."

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "Kids With Minor Head Injury May Not Need Hospitalization," 17 June 2011

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