CT of the head in trauma

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Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]


Choice of modality

CT of the head in trauma, without IV contrast, is the first choice of investigation.


In adults, indications mainly include altered mental status, post-traumatic seizure, focal neurologic deficit, vomiting and/or anticoagulant medication.[1] There are various scoring systems for the decision (CCHR (Canadian), NICE (UK), NOC (US)), but for the radiologist it is extremely rare to deny a trauma CT of the head if suggested by a clinician, since it is generally a non-contrast procedure with relatively low radiation dose and fast evaluation.


Processed images should include thin slices (0.5 - 1.5 mm) in order to better evaluate any skeletal damage.[2]


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Radlines:Authorship for details.


  1. UK: . Head Injury - Algorithm 1: Selection of adults for CT head scan. NICE. 2014
  2. Maetani, Kazuhide; Namiki, Jun; Matsumoto, Shokei; Matsunami, Katsutoshi; Narumi, Atsushi; Tsuneyoshi, Toshimi; Kishikawa, Masanobu (2016). "Routine Head Computed Tomography for Patients in the Emergency Room with Trauma Requires Both Thick- and Thin-Slice Images ". Emergency Medicine International 2016: 1–4. doi:10.1155/2016/5781790. ISSN 2090-2840.