Medical imaging now accounts for most of the US population’s exposure to ionizing radiation. A substantial proportion of this medical imaging is ordered in the emergency setting. We aim to provide a general overview of radiation dose from medical imaging with a focus on computed tomography, as well as a literature review of recent efforts to decrease unnecessary radiation exposure to patients in the emergency department setting.
We present the case of a 31-year-old trauma patient with computed tomography concerning significant C3–C4 subluxation. The abnormality is due to an artifact with which emergency physicians should be aware.
In preparing a case report on Brown-Séquard syndrome for publication, we made the incidental finding that the inexpensive, commercially available three-dimensional (3D) rendering software we were using could produce high quality 3D spinal cord reconstructions from any series of two-dimensional (2D) computed tomography (CT) images. This finding raises the possibility that spinal cord imaging capabilities can be expanded where bundled 2D multi-planar reformats and 3D reconstruction software for CT are not available and in situations where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is either not available or appropriate (e.g. metallic implants). Given the worldwide burden of trauma and considering the limited availability of MRI and advanced generation CT scanners, we propose an alternative, potentially useful approach to imaging spinal cord that might be useful in areas where technical capabilities and support are limited.
Emergency department (ED) frequent users account for a large number of annual ED visits and often receive radiological studies as a part of their evaluation. We report a pilot study of a case management program for ED frequent users to reduce ED usage and radiation exposure.
We developed and implemented clinical practice guideline (CPG) using computerized tomography (CT) as the initial imaging method in the emergency department management of scaphoid fractures. We hypothesized that this CPG would decrease unnecessary immobilization and lead to earlier return to work.