Reducing Postoperative CT Imaging for Children With Complicated Appendicitis: A Pediatric Surgical Quality Collaborative Quality Improvement Project

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Pediatric Surgery


Background: Despite widespread initiatives to reduce ionizing radiation for appendicitis diagnosis, computed tomography (CT) scanning postoperatively remains common. The Pediatric Surgery Quality Collaborative (PSQC) aimed to identify differences between children's hospitals with high and low postoperative CT usage for complicated appendicitis. Methods: Using National Surgery Quality Improvement Program Pediatric data from PSQC children's hospitals, we compared postoperative CT imaging for complicated appendicitis (April 2020–March 2021). Key stakeholders from 11 hospitals (5 low CT utilization, 6 high CT utilization) participated in semi-structured interviews regarding postoperative imaging. Qualitative analysis of transcripts was performed deductively and inductively based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). Results: Five of twelve TDF domains were most prominent in influencing CT use: skills, beliefs about capabilities, intentions/goals, memory and decision processes, and environment. Children's hospitals with lower rates of postoperative CT use tended to: trust and educate the ultrasound technicians; believe US strengths outweigh weaknesses; image no sooner than 7 days postoperatively; have access to sufficient quality improvement resources; maintain trusting relationships between specialties; and prioritize radiation stewardship. Conclusion: Hospitals at extremes of postoperative CT use for complicated appendicitis reveal strategies for improvement, which include imaging protocol development and adherence, quality improvement resource availability, interdisciplinary collaboration, and promoting radiation stewardship. Level of Evidence: Level V.

PubMed ID


This document is currently not available here.