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Radiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 594278, 8 pages
Research Article

CT Scans in Young People in Great Britain: Temporal and Descriptive Patterns, 1993–2002

1Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
2Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London WC1N 3JH, UK
3Department of Nuclear Engineering, Kyung Hee University, Gyeonggi-do 446701, Republic of Korea
4Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
5Northern Institute of Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
6Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics, Population Cancer Research Program, Dalhousie University and Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3B7

Received 5 March 2012; Accepted 24 April 2012

Academic Editor: David C. Howlett

Copyright © 2012 Mark S. Pearce et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Although using computed tomography (CT) can be greatly beneficial, the associated relatively high radiation doses have led to growing concerns in relation to potential associations with risk of future cancer. Very little has been published regarding the trends of CT use in young people. Therefore, our objective was to assess temporal and other patterns in CT usage among patients aged under 22 years in Great Britain from 1993 to 2002. Methods. Electronic data were obtained from the Radiology Information Systems of 81 hospital trusts within Great Britain. All included patients were aged under 22 years and examined using CT between 1993 and 2002, with accessible radiology records. Results. The number of CT examinations doubled over the study period. While increases in numbers of recorded examinations were seen across all age groups, the greatest increases were in the older patients, most notably those aged 15–19 years of age. Sixty percent of CT examinations were of the head, with the percentages varying with calendar year and patient age. Conclusions. In contrast to previous data from the North of England, the doubling of CT use was not accompanied by an increase in numbers of multiple examinations to the same individual.