PECARN Head Trauma Prediction Rules

Between 20% and 60% of children presenting to EDs with head injury undergo head CT in the U.S., even though less than 1% of children with GCS of 14 – 15 have an injury that requires any kind of intervention. Using the PECARN head injury prediction rule can significantly improve the value we deliver to our patients by reducing unnecessary CT scans in children, thereby reducing radiation exposure and decreasing costs.

California ACEP has developed a toolkit to facilitate adoption of the evidence-based PECARN algorithm. The toolkit specifically addresses “shared decision making” as a vital part of PECARN, and spells out how observation can be a safe alternative to CT scanning in low-risk patients. We encourage all emergency providers to utilize the California ACEP PECARN toolkit so all pediatric patients with minor head injuries can benefit from the landmark PECARN study.

PECARN Decision Guides

California ACEP has developed  pocket reference cards that summarize the decision rule.  We are pleased to offer you this toolkit in hopes that it will enhance your practice and prove useful to you.
PECARN Pocket Card: Under 2 Years Old
PECARN Pocket Card: Over 2 Years Old

Communicating PECARN

We have included resources for you to communicate the guidelines to patients, hospital staff, and local pediatricians. Included in this section is a letter you can use to bring medical staff and local physicians on board with the safe prescribing guidelines, in addition to suggestions for how to communicate the guides to parents.

Communicating Guidelines to Patients
How to Communicate PECARN Guidelines to Parents
Brochures for Parents (Coming Soon)

Communicating Guidelines to Colleagues
PECARN Sample Primary Care Provider Letter
PECARN Sample Primary Care Provider Letter (Word Document)
PECARN PowerPoint Presentation for Providers