When you seek emergency services for an accident or illness, you may need to have an imaging test. Your doctor may refer to this test as diagnostic imaging or simply radiology. Imaging tests examine the structures inside your body and look for problems, including organ dysfunction, bleeding, tumors, and broken bones.
Wait at home, not in the emergency room. Use the Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican hospitals online waiting service to select your estimated arrival time for diagnostic imaging in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
Emergency radiology and diagnostic imaging exams include:
- X-rays, which generate a still image of an organ or structure using a very small amount of ionizing radiation.
- Ultrasound, which creates a moving picture of a structure or organ, such as a beating heart, using sound waves.
- CT (computed tomography), which builds detailed, three-dimensional (3-D) images using specialized X-rays from multiple angles.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which produces 3-D images using a large magnet and other technology. No ionizing radiation is used during MRI.
Why Do Doctors Use Diagnostic Imaging?
Radiology and emergency departments use imaging tests to aid in the diagnosis of:
- Blood clots, including clots that cause stroke (blood clot in artery going to brain) and pulmonary embolisms (blood clot in artery going to lung).
- Abdominal emergencies, including bowel obstructions, appendicitis, and kidney stones.
- Chest emergencies, including collapsed lung, chest pain, breathing problems, and pulmonary embolism.
- Traumatic injuries, including spine injuries, fractures, and head and neck injuries.
- Infections, including infected gallbladder and abscesses.
- Aneurysms, including aortic aneurysms in the chest or abdomen and brain aneurysms.
- Internal injuries, including organ injury.
- Internal bleeding, including bleeding due to trauma and hemorrhagic stroke.
What to Expect During Diagnostic Radiology
A radiologic technologist will likely perform the imaging test. A radiologist will review the images and interpret the results for the emergency doctor in charge of your care. The goal is to provide results quickly to help guide treatment and diagnose emergency conditions.
Imaging studies themselves are painless. You may need to have a small needle puncture into a vein if your test requires intravenous (IV) contrast medium. Contrast helps produce clearer images for some structures of the body.
Ultrasound and other tests may be performed at the bedside. Some tests will likely require you to stand in front of an imaging device or lie on a moving table. With the exception of MRI, most imaging exams take just a few minutes to complete. Because MRI produces images of the body in great detail, it can take from 30 minutes to an hour.
Your care team is highly experienced in helping patients through the entire imaging process. Tell a provider if you are uncomfortable during the test.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides emergency diagnostic imaging in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.