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.
A 40-year-old male with human immunodeficiency virus (currently, CD4 171) presented to our emergency department (ED) with pain and swelling in the left third digit of 3 to 4 weeks’ duration. He noticed the swelling after a fist fight that resulted in compression of his ring on the finger.
We are investigating the potential role for vibration response imaging (VRI) in the prompt emergency department (ED) evaluation of patients presenting with dyspnea to aid in differentiation between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure (HF).
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.