American College of Radiology
ACR Appropriateness Criteria®

Suspected Physical Abuse — Child

Variant 1: Suspected physical abuse. Child ≤24 months of age. Neurological or visceral injuries not clinically suspected. Initial imaging evaluation.
Procedure Appropriateness Category SOE Adult RRL Peds RRL Rating Median Final Tabulations
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Radiography skeletal survey Usually appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without IV contrast May be appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 6 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without IV contrast May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tc-99m bone scan whole body May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 4 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Variant 2: Suspected physical abuse. Child >24 months of age. Neurological or visceral injuries not clinically suspected. Initial imaging evaluation.
Procedure Appropriateness Category SOE Adult RRL Peds RRL Rating Median Final Tabulations
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Radiography area of interest Usually appropriate Varies Varies Varies Varies 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without IV contrast May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 6 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Radiography skeletal survey May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without IV contrast May be appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tc-99m bone scan whole body May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 4 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Variant 3: Child with one or more of the following: neurologic signs or symptoms, apnea, complex skull fracture, other fractures, or injuries highly suspicious for child abuse. Initial imaging evaluation.
Procedure Appropriateness Category SOE Adult RRL Peds RRL Rating Median Final Tabulations
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Radiography skeletal survey Usually appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without IV contrast Usually appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without IV contrast Usually appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 8 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI cervical spine without IV contrast Usually appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 8 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tc-99m bone scan whole body May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI complete spine without IV contrast May be appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 3 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI complete spine without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI cervical spine without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Variant 4: Child. Suspected physical abuse. Suspected thoracic or abdominopelvic injuries (eg, abdominal skin bruises, distension, tenderness, or elevated liver or pancreatic enzymes). Initial imaging evaluation.
Procedure Appropriateness Category SOE Adult RRL Peds RRL Rating Median Final Tabulations
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Radiography skeletal survey Usually appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT abdomen and pelvis with IV contrast Usually appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without IV contrast May be appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 6 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without IV contrast May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 6 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT chest with IV contrast May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 6 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tc-99m bone scan whole body May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 4 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT chest without IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 3 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT abdomen and pelvis without IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT abdomen and pelvis without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢☢ 10-30 mSv ☢☢☢☢☢ 10-30 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Variant 5: Child ≤24 months of age. High suspicion for abuse. Negative initial skeletal survey. Follow-up imaging evaluation.
Procedure Appropriateness Category SOE Adult RRL Peds RRL Rating Median Final Tabulations
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Radiography skeletal survey Usually appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 9 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tc-99m bone scan whole body May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 6 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without IV contrast May be appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT chest without IV contrast May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 5 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without IV contrast May be appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 4 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MRI head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate O 0 mSv O 0 mSv [ped] 2 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT head with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢ 0.3-3 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT chest without and with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CT chest with IV contrast Usually not appropriate ☢☢☢ 1-10 mSv ☢☢☢☢ 3-10 mSv [ped] 1 n/a 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Appendix Key

A more complete discussion of the items presented below can be found by accessing the supporting documents at the designated hyperlinks.

Appropriateness Category:The panel’s recommendation for a procedure based on the assessment of the risks and benefits of performing the procedure for the specified clinical scenario.

SOE: Strength of Evidence. The assessment of the amount and quality of evidence found in the peer reviewed medical literature for an appropriateness recommendation.

  • References: The citation number and PMID for the reference(s) associated with the recommendation.
  • Study Quality: The assessment of the quality of an individual reference based on the number of study quality elements described in the reference.

RRL: Relative Radiation Level. A population based assessment of the amount of radiation a typical patient may be exposed to during the specified procedure.

Rating: The final rating (1-9 scale) for the procedure as determined by the panel during rating rounds.

Median: The median rating (1-9 scale) for the procedure as determined by the panel during rating rounds.

Final tabulations: A histogram showing the number of panel members who rated the procedure as noted in the column heading (ie, 1, 2, 3, etc.).

Additional supporting documents about the AC methodology and processes can be found at www.acr.org/ac.