International-Day-of-Radiology

The discovery of X-rays was accidental, but would revolutionize the practice of medicine later on

In 1895, the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was studying the phenomena associated with the passage of a high electric voltage current originated from an induction coil, through a gas of extremely low pressure with the aid of a cathode ray tube. On November 8, while carrying out experiments in his laboratory in the University of Würzburg (Germany), Röntgen accidentally noticed that emissions from the tube caused a nearby platinobarium screen to become fluorescent, even though he had wrapped an opaque black paper around the tube. Further experiments allowed him to conclude that the glow was produced by invisible rays, and that this new sort of radiation was able to penetrate solid objects of prominent thickness, including the soft tissues of the body, while leaving bones and metals visible. This is how X-rays ­­– so dubbed because of their initial unkown nature – were discovered; an accidental finding that would revolutionize the practice of medicine later on.

Wilhelm_Conrad_Roentgen_looking_into_an_X-ray_screen_placed_WellcomeCollection

©Wellcome Collection – Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen looking into an X-ray screen placed in front of a man’s body and seeing the ribs and the bones of the arm.

In commemoration of Röntgen’s breakthrough, the International Day of Radiology was chosen to be celebrated on 8th November each year. In 2017, the occasion aims to highlight the importance of emergency radiology

In fact, soon after Röntgen’s discovery, physicians worldwide commenced using X-rays on patients to investigate the skeleton and subsequently the lung and other organs, thus giving rise to the field of diagnostic radiology; a noteworthy medical branch allowing to peer inside the human body without cutting it open. In commemoration of Röntgen’s breakthrough, the International Day of Radiology (IDoR), starting in 2012, was chosen to be celebrated on 8th November. Thus, on this day each year, radiologists, radiographers, medical professionals and scientists from all over the world gather together with the intention of promoting the importance of radiology in modern healthcare to the general public. Therefore, today on the occasion of IdoR 2017, the team of ImageBiopsy Lab is proud to take part in this annual event, this year focusing on radiology in emergency settings.

In most hospitals today, radiologists are integral members of the emergency unit

Emergencies constitute a hefty portion of radiological cases. Indeed, medical imaging, including not only X-rays, but a great number of modalities with varying physical principles in its armamentarium, plays a pivotal role in emergency medicine. It has the potential to enable illness, trauma and other injury to be diagnosed quickly and accurately, so that the right treatment can be rapidly initiated. Therefore, diagnostic imaging in the emergency department oughts to be conducted in a timely and efficient manner, since a correct, fast diagnostic will prevent further complications from happening, thus saving many patients’ lives. In most hospitals today, radiologists are integral members of the emergency unit, and are responsible of the execution, prioritization and management of imaging services.

Different imaging evidence-based algorithms have been developed so as to maximize clinical effectiveness

Nevertheless, radiology is accompanied by an interpretation that is highly dependent on the skill of the radiologist, and is therefore often considered a relatively subjective assessment. For this reason, over the last years, different imaging evidence-based algorithms have been developed so as to maximize clinical effectiveness. Such algorithms, derived from extensive research, are aimed at standardizing diagnostic radiology and provide a more objective guidance for clinical decision-making. Development and validation of predictive algorithms as such to assess distinct bone diseases constitute one of the goals of ImageBiopsy Lab.

The International Day of Radiology is an event led by the European Society of Radiology (ESR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). To learn more about this initiave, click here.

 

written by Ines Fernandez Maestre