Routine repeat imaging may be avoidable for asymptomatic pediatric patients with renal trauma

Published:November 16, 2021DOI:



      AUA Urotrauma guidelines for renal injury recommend initial nonoperative management followed by repeat CT imaging for stable patients with deep lacerations or clinical signs of complications. Particularly in pediatric patients where caution is taken to limit radiation exposure, it is not known whether routine repeat imaging affects clinical outcomes.


      Our objective was to determine whether routine repeat imaging is associated with urologic intervention or complications in nonoperatively managed pediatric renal trauma.


      We retrospectively analyzed 337 pediatric patients with blunt and penetrating renal trauma from a prospectively collected database from 2005 to 2019 at a Level I trauma center. Exclusion criteria included age >18 years old, death during admission (N = 39), immediate operative intervention (N = 28), and low-grade renal injury (AAST grades I-II, N = 91). Routine repeat imaging was defined as reimaging in asymptomatic patients within 72 h of initial injury. Patients were placed into three imaging groups consisting of: (A) those with routine repeat imaging, (B) those reimaged for symptoms, or (C) those not reimaged. Comparisons were made using logistic regression controlling for grade of renal injury.


      Of the included 179 children, 44 (25%) underwent routine repeat imaging, 20 (11%) were reimaged for symptoms, and 115 patients (64%) were managed without reimaging. Compared to patients who were reimaged for symptoms, asymptomatic patients in the routine repeat imaging group and without reimaging group were significantly less likely to develop a complication (16% and 7% vs. 55%, p < 0.001) or require delayed urologic procedure (5% and 1% vs. 25%, p = 0.007). Comparing the routine repeat imaging group to those without reimaging, we found no difference in complications (p = 0.47), readmissions (p = 0.75), or urologic interventions (p = 0.50).


      Despite suffering high-grade (III-IV) renal injuries, the majority of pediatric patients who remained asymptomatic during the first three days of hospitalization did not require a urologic intervention. Foregoing repeat imaging was not associated with a higher rate of complications or delayed procedures, supporting that routine repeat imaging may expose these children to unnecessary radiation and may be avoidable in the absence of signs or symptoms of concern.



      CT (Computed Tomography), UE (Urinary Extravasation), ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable), CWTD (Computed Tomography with Delayed Phase), US (Ultrasound), SD (Standard Deviation)



      CT (Computed Tomography), UE (Urinary Extravasation), ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable), CWTD (Computed Tomography with Delayed Phase), US (Ultrasound), SD (Standard Deviation)
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