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n South African Journal of Child Health - The profile of indications for radiography in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein : research
Introduction. Radiography is a key diagnostic tool in paediatric care. A pro-active approach (including the use of radiography) is required to ensure effective management of these patients. Taking into account the widely documented harmful effects of ionising radiation and the small organ masses of neonates, the number of radiographs that neonates receive during hospital admission is of particular concern. A reduction in radiation exposure tailored to specific indications would be advantageous. The aim of this study was therefore to establish a profile of indications for radiographs in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Methods. A retrospective, descriptive study was conducted over a 1-month period (8 September - 8 October 2010). Information was obtained from the online Medi-Tech system used to request radiographs.
Results. A total of 469 radiographs were performed on 51 neonates. Twenty-seven male and 24 female neonates received 226 (48.2%) and 243 (51.8%) radiographs, respectively. The radiographs were classified into routine (91.9%) and urgent (8.1%). Chest radiographs were requested most frequently (59.5%). The most commonly recorded indication was prematurity (37.1%), followed by respiratory-related indications (28.5%). The highest number of radiographs performed on a single neonate was 46.
Conclusions. All radiographs were requested online, supporting the validity of the study with regard to the number of radiographs performed and their respective indications. A representative profile of indications was successfully obtained, which can assist with the implementation of further research on the stratification of radiation exposure according to indications for radiographs.
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