East and Central African Journal of Surgery

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The Role of Current Emergency Radiology Practice: A prospective Cross-sectional Study Done at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital

A Teka, T Kebede, Y Hawaz


Background: The role of radiogy in the management of emergency  patients is tremendous. Which imaging modality best evaluates specific clinical emergencies has evolved and continues to advance with clinical practice trends. The purpose of this study was to show the role of radiology in emergency patient handeling and compare specific clinical entities with the standard.
Methods: A prospective cross sectional study was done to describe the pattern of duty hour emergency utilization at Tikur Anbessa Hospital Department of Radiology. A total of 384 patient’s data were collected for the period of Jananuary 1st to April 30th 2010. The data which were
demographic variables, clinical diagnosis, radiologic diagnosis, type of investigation used, type of anatomic area imaged, whether primary investigation used or not, recommendations made by the radiology residents were collected and tabulated.
Results: There were 242 (63%) males and 142 (37%) females. Suspected fracture was the commonest clinical indication for referring patients to the department of radiology at the duty hours and accounted for 40.9% of all cases. Otherclinical diagnoses included pnumonia (21.6%), blunt  abdominal trauma (5.7%) and pulmonary edema (4.7%). Plain  radiographs were taken in 88% of patients sent for imaging. Among the sonographic studies done, 43.4% were for patients presenting with blunt abdominal trauma. Of all patients in 90.4% primary investigative  modalities were used. Comparison of clinical and radiologic diagnosis was made in most common clinical cases and in general 51.3% of radiologic interpretations were normal.
Conclusion: Plain radiography was used as the cornerstone investigative modality for emergency imaging. Fracture and pneumonia constituted the commonest indications for emergency imaging in all age groups. Over half of radiologic investigations were normal. It was observed that lack of
appropriate investigative modalities such as CT scan, doppler and high frequency ultrasonography greatly affected the quality of service the department offered and also negatively affected the training process.

Key words: Emergency, Radiology, Practice

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