Study of Neck Injury Imaging in Children (SONIC): Improving the Diagnosis of Spinal Cord, Bone and Ligament Injuries
Many children sustain head and neck trauma during their lifetime. Significant neck injuries – to spinal cord, neck bones and connecting ligaments – can be identified by performing neck imaging with x-rays, or, if needed, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Yet, it is unclear which children should receive neck imaging in the emergency department (ED), especially in the context of increasing concerns about radiation-induced cancer in children and the discomfort and delays of immobilisation prior to imaging.
This study aims to:
(i) investigate the accuracy of existing neck injury clinical decision rules (CDRs) to detect neck injuries in children (external validation) of adult focussed CDRs and the newly developed paediatric PECARN CDR
(ii) derive and validate a new CDR for neck imaging in children (the SONIC CDR),
(iii) assess the cost implications of different CDRs in children.
(iv) investigate the epidemiology of cervical spine injuries in ANZ.
Recruitment has commenced at 5 Australian sites (Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Queensland Children’s Hospital, Perth Children’s Hospital, Perth, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide and Darwin Hospital, NT, with over 300 patients enrolled. Governance approvals are underway for the remaining 8 sites with hope to commence recruitment at these in the first half of 2022.