Emergency radiology refers to imaging exams used to diagnose a sudden illness or traumatic injury. Radiology exams include:
- CT scan (computed tomography). Specialized X-rays taken from multiple angles are converted into a detailed, three-dimensional (3D) image.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This test produces 3-D images of the body using a large magnet and additional technology.
- Ultrasound. Sound waves are used to create a moving image of an internal structure or organ, such as a beating heart.
- X-rays. A still image of a structure or an organ is created using a very small amount of ionizing radiation.
Dignity Health hospitals provide advanced emergency services, including emergency radiology, in Central California. If you are experiencing a problem that requires immediate medical attention, call 911 or visit a Dignity Health emergency room. Use InQuicker, our online waiting service, to select your estimated arrival time to one of our ERs.
Reasons for Emergency Radiology
Emergency radiology may be needed to diagnose these conditions:
- Abdominal emergencies such as appendicitis, bowel obstructions, or kidney stones
- Aneurysms, including aortic aneurysms in the abdomen or chest, or brain aneurysms
- Blood clots, which can cause pulmonary embolisms and strokes
- Chest emergencies such as breathing problems, collapsed lung, and chest pain
- Infections, including infected gallbladder and abscesses
- Internal bleeding, including hemorrhagic stroke and bleeding caused by trauma
- Internal injuries such as a ruptured spleen
- Traumatic injuries, including head and neck injuries, spine injuries, and fractures
Emergency Radiology Procedures at Dignity Health Central California
The detailed images made possible with emergency radiology can be lifesaving. The goal is to provide your doctor with results as quickly as possible to help determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Ultrasound and X-rays are quick and easy ways to scan a part of the body. Ultrasound is also a great method for diagnosing children, because it avoids exposure to radiation. Portable ultrasound machines, if available, can be used right at your hospital bed. Some facilities also have portable X-ray machines, making it easier for patients in critical care.
Your doctor may order a CT scan to diagnose problems within bony structures, including the spine. MRI exams take longer to complete compared with other types of radiology. However, MRI provides better images of soft tissue and organs, such as the heart and brain.
Your emergency radiology exams will typically take place in the hospital radiology department. The procedure will likely be done by a radiological technologist, and the results interpreted by an emergency radiologist. Your doctor may want a combination of imaging tests to fully diagnose your condition.
Our doctors and staff strive to provide unparalleled, high-quality care, even in fast-paced, emergency situations.
Dignity Health Central California provides advanced diagnostic options, including emergency radiology, in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.