The International Day of Radiology (IDoR) takes place every year on November 8. The day is historically significant. It was on November 8, 1895, that Wilhelm Conrad Rӧntgen discovered X-rays.
This year, IDoR highlights the field of emergency radiology.
Emergency Radiology: What is it?
Emergency radiology is a relatively new field within radiology. That said, it does have some history. Early users of X-ray technology appreciated its usefulness in diagnosing emergency medical conditions. Many early movies and comics depict the ability to “see through” a person with “X-ray vision.” The ability to see someone’s skeleton without doing surgery helped doctors of the era diagnose the presence of fractures and the nature of their severity.
Over the next 122 years, many advances followed, including:
- Computed tomography (CT);
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
- Ultrasound; and
- Nuclear medicine.
These technologies have greatly improved how we diagnose and treat patients in the emergency room.
A New Development: Point-of-Care Ultrasound
Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) is revolutionizing patient care delivered by emergency paramedics and military medics. How? Now, as soon as medical professionals arrive on the scene, they can diagnose patients with life-threatening conditions. This allows them to immediately deliver life-saving treatments.
Training the Next Generation of Emergency Radiologists
This year, the American Society of Emergency Radiology turns 29 years old. It also marks 30 years since its founders imagined a society that would “define and disseminate the body of knowledge unique to emergency radiology.”
Their vision is now reality. Today there are thirteen fellowship training programs in the US dedicated to training emergency radiologists. Academic centers like the University of Vermont Medical Center take a multi-subspecialty approach to manage ER patients.
For example, a patient who we suspect has appendicitis might have an ultrasound or CT scan interpreted by an abdominal radiologist. Another patient who is brought in by an ambulance from the scene of a car accident might have a FAST scan (a type of ultrasound), interpreted by an ER doctor. This would be followed by a CT scan of the patient’s head, spine, chest, and abdomen/pelvis. This scan would be interpreted by a neuroradiologist, thoracic radiologist, and abdominal radiologist.
Learn more about IDoR at www.internationaldayofradiology.com and Emergency Radiology at www.erad.org.
Dmitriy Grigoriy Akselrod, MD, is radiologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.