Value of emergent pediatric cardiac computed tomographic angiography service: initial experience at a large children’s hospital


May LA, More SR, Masand PM, Ketwaroo PD, Krishnamurthy R, Jadhav SP.

Pediatr Radiol. 2020 Apr 3. doi: 10.1007/s00247-020-04659-4. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 32242280

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Background: Demand for pediatric cardiac computed tomography (CT) angiography is increasing due to recent advances that reduce the need for sedation and radiation exposure while enhancing diagnostic accuracy. This has resulted in the increasing use of cardiac CT angiography emergently during weekends and after hours. The unexpected demand for these services can be challenging, as most hospitals are not staffed to provide 24/7 pediatric cardiovascular imaging.

Objective: To describe a large single-center experience of providing emergent cardiac CT angiography services in children.

Materials and methods: We identified all patients who underwent after–hours weekday and weekend emergent cardiac CT angiography between January 2017 and August 2018. Cardiac CT angiography in the settings of congenital heart disease and coronary imaging were included. Data collected included day and time of cardiac CT angiography, patient age, referral unit, indication, surgical history, need for sedation, need for surgery, intervention and/or change in medical management based on the cardiac CT angiography.

Results: Forty-seven studies were identified, 26 (55%) of which were performed on a weekend or holiday and 21 (45%) after 5 p.m. on a weekday. Based on cardiac CT angiography findings, 20 (43%) patients underwent either surgery or an interventional procedure, and 9 (19%) had a change in medical management. The time between cardiac CT angiography and the related surgery/intervention ranged from 0 to 29 days with a median of 3.5 days.

Conclusion: Emergent pediatric cardiac CT angiography is a valuable service. Larger multi-institutional studies with standardized referral and utilization patterns are needed to determine if outcomes are affected by this service, which in turn will influence hospital staffing patterns for emergent imaging.