UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Trauma

Title: How much is too much? Imaging before transfer.

Keywords: radiology, transfer, trauma, imaging, rural (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/23/2023 by Robert Flint, MD (Updated: 7/22/2024)
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Evaluating trauma patients at Level 3 or 4 centers, rural hospitals, and non-trauma centers is difficult. Understanding the amount of work-up to perform prior to transfer is important. Summers, et al suggest less is more when it comes to imaging. The receiving facility often repeats imaging leading to time delays, additional radiation exposure, and increased costs. Chest X-ray and FAST exam may be all that is indicated in centers that do not have the resources to care for injures identified on CT imaging prior to transfer.


Summers LN, Harry ML, Colling KP. Evaluating our progress with trauma transfer imaging: repeat CT scans, incomplete imaging, and delayed definitive care. Emerg Radiol. 2021 Oct;28(5):939-948. doi: 10.1007/s10140-021-01938-x. Epub 2021 May 28. PMID: 34050410.