Children who have stomach-ache symptoms are much more likely to receive a CT scan now than they were 14 years ago, a study shows.
The study was published today in Pediatrics, which is a journal for American Academy of Pediatrics.
Fifteen percent of children who go to the emergency room because of abdominal pain get a CT scan, according to data from 2008, which is the most recent year for which figures are available. In 1998, less than 1 percent of such ER patients had CT scans, the report says.
The study’s author, Dr. Jahan Fahimi, told Reuters that the increase in ordering CT scans for children who have abdominal pain could be related to doctors trying to guard themselves against a malpractice lawsuit if appendicitis isn’t diagnosed properly.
Previous research that was published in the British medical journal The Lancet indicates that children who have several CT scans face an increased risk of developing brain cancer or leukemia.