Diagnostic accuracy of clinical characteristics following minor head injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Computed tomography (CT) of the head is the diagnostic standard for identifying intracranial injury. Routine CT of all minor head injury patients would result in a large number of normal CT scans being performed with associated risks of radiation exposure and waste of health care resources. Clinical decision rules for minor head injury patients incorporate a number of individual characteristics grouped together to provide a tool for identifying those at risk of intracranial injury and in need of CT. We performed a systematic review of the individual characteristics that contribute to clinical decision making and calculated likelihood ratios of significance for each.