News | June 25, 2008

JACR Examines Current Trends in Emergency Department Imaging

June 26, 2008 - As new imaging practices emerge, computed tomography (CT) remains a vital tool in the evaluation of patients in the emergency department (ED) with symptoms of chest pain and those involved with trauma, according to an article in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR).

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state out of the 11 million ED visits per year in the U.S., 44 percent of patients undergo imaging studies. In “Emergency Department Imaging: Current Practice,” by John Thomas, M.D., et al., the demographics and current imaging practices of radiologists providing coverage for EDs were evaluated through the results of an online survey. CT scanners were the most common pieces of imaging equipment found in EDs (40 percent) followed by ultrasound units (27 percent).

All surveyed groups used multiple methods for communicating findings to ED physicians; however the most prevalent method was via telephone (49 percent), followed by delivering the results in person (21 percent). Twenty-one percent of groups had dedicated emergency radiology divisions, the majority of them being in academic centers (73 percent). Of the groups surveyed, 15 percent obtained written consent before performing either noncontrast CT or MRI scans, as compared to 47 percent that obtained written consent before performing contrast-enhanced CT or MRI scans.

For more information: www.jacr.org

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