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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5781790, 4 pages
Research Article

Routine Head Computed Tomography for Patients in the Emergency Room with Trauma Requires Both Thick- and Thin-Slice Images

1Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Shinanomachi 35, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan
2Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Saiseikai Fukuoka General Hospital, 1-3-46 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 810-0001, Japan

Received 4 October 2015; Accepted 14 January 2016

Academic Editor: Robert W. Derlet

Copyright © 2016 Kazuhide Maetani 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. Images of head CT for the supratentorial compartment are sometimes recommended to be reconstructed with a thickness of 8–10 mm to achieve lesion conspicuity. However, additional images of a thin slice may not be routinely provided for patients with trauma in the emergency room (ER). We investigated the diagnostic sensitivity of a head CT, where axial images were 10 mm thick slices, in cases of linear skull fractures. Methods. Two trauma surgeons retrospectively reviewed head CT with 10 mm slices and skull X-rays of patients admitted to the ER that were diagnosed with a linear skull fracture. All patients had undergone both head CT and skull X-rays (). Result. The diagnostic sensitivity of head CT with a thickness of sequential 10 mm was 89% for all linear skull fractures but only 56% for horizontal fractures. This CT technique with 10 mm slices missed 6% of patients with linear skull fractures. False-negative diagnoses were significantly more frequent for older (≥55 years) than for young (<15 years) individuals (). Conclusions. A routine head CT of the supratentorial region for patients in the ER with head injuries requires both thick-slice images to visualize cerebral hemispheres and thin-slice images to detect skull fractures of the cranial vault.