Background: Head trauma in children is one of the most common causes for emergency department visits. Although most trauma cases are minor, identifying those patients who have clinically important traumatic brain injury (ciTBI) is challenging. The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) head trauma prediction rules identifying children who do not require cranial computed tomography (CT) were validated and are used all over the world. However, these rules have not been validated with large cohort multicenter studies in Asia. Objectives: To investigate whether the PECARN rules can be safely applied to Japanese children. Methods: We conducted a multicenter, prospective, observational cohort study. We included children younger than 16 with minor head trauma (Glasgow Coma Scale ≥14) who presented to the six participating centers within 24 h of their injuries between June 2016 and September 2017. The primary analysis was set to calculate the negative predictive value of the patients with very low risk by the PECARN rules, compared with a preset threshold of 99.85%. Results: We included 6585 children of which 463 (7.0%) had head CT scans performed and 23 (0.35%) had ciTBI. There were two patients with ciTBI who were classified as very low risk. The negative predictive value, calculated as 99.96% (95%CI: 99.86–100.00; P =.019), was significantly superior compared with the preset threshold of 99.85%. Conclusions: The PECARN head trauma prediction rules seemed to be safely applicable to Japanese children. Further studies are needed to determine safety in hospitals where physicians do not have expertise in managing children.
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