BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to identify whether the distribution of Hounsfield Unit (HU) values across the intracranial area in computed tomography (CT) images can be used as an effective diagnostic tool for determining the severity of cerebral edema in pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients.
METHODS: CT images, medical records and radiology reports on 70 pediatric patients were collected. Based on radiology reports and the Marshall classification, the patients were grouped as mild edema patients (n=37) or severe edema patients (n=33). Automated quantitative analysis using unenhanced CT images was applied to eliminate artifacts and identify the difference in HU value distribution across the intracranial area between these groups.
RESULTS: The proportion of pixels with HU=17 to 24 was highly correlated with the existence of severe cerebral edema (P
CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of pixels with an HU value of 17 to 24 in the entire cerebral area of a non-enhanced CT image can be an effective basis for evaluating the severity of cerebral edema. Based on this result, we propose a novel approach for the early detection of severe cerebral edema.
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