Remember the important contribution made by the radiologist and radiology to the humankind!
The International Day of Radiology (IDoR) is celebrated every year on November 8th to recognize the impact of radiology and to highlight the remarkable contributions radiologists have made on advancing human health. The German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays about 125 years ago on this same day, which is recognized as the IDoR by the international medical community to honor him as well as his contributions to the scientific and medical community.
International Day of Radiology is also celebrated to raise awareness among the public about the field of radiology and how radiologists play an instrumental role in helping us lead a healthy life. In this blog, we hope to educate our readers on what is radiology, how radiologists impact our health, and technologies and current advances in the field, and more importantly, how the medical images taken by radiologists play a significant role in diagnosing COVID-19 that has set the course of our lives lately on a virtual digital path.
International Day of Radiology: What is radiology and how it provides valuable health information?
Radiology is a speciality field in medical practice that enables healthcare professionals to take images of our body organs to enable diagnosis of health conditions. These images are reviewed by radiologists, who are experts on interpreting medical images and provide indispensable information about these diagnostic images to a primary care physician or other doctors who requested the test to develop a proper therapeutic strategy.
While there are many different imaging technologies available that can give insights on what is happening inside our body. The need to use a certain type of technology is primarily dictated by the health condition of a patient and whether that would enable a patient’s healthcare team to diagnose and develop the appropriate therapeutic approach. Some of the technologies used to generate medical images. The imaging include ultrasound, mammogram, fluoroscopy, X-ray radiography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and nuclear imaging. Like a digital camera allows us to photograph our surroundings, these hi-tech medical instruments provide visual images of our inner body.
Well, how often are these technologies used? According to Statista and other reports, currently, there are over 80 million CT scans performed compared to 3 million in 1980, and about 2 million PET scans are done each year in the United States alone. Interestingly, the U.S. ranks second globally in using MRI with 40 million tests performed each year. These statistics highlight how radiologists and other medical professionals in this speciality field are instrumental in finding disease conditions and developing effective treatment options to both manage our health and save their lives.
How is medical imaging used in COVID-19 diagnosis?
In early 2020, the world has seen the rapid spread of highly contagious COVID-19 virus, and within a few weeks to months, it had already wreaked havoc to our healthcare system with an increasing number of patients being admitted to intensive care units, and the death tolls spiked. While there are multiple tests available to diagnose active or post-COVID-19 infection, RT-PCR serves as the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19 but this technique can suffer from false-negative rates and may not report patients correctly who test positive. Researchers have shown that medical imaging can come in handy in those patients with chest X-rays having a limited value, and CT scans tend to be the most reliable in these patients.
It is quite clear that technological advances in the field of radiology and the expertise of radiologists are both integral to our healthcare system and play an essential role in managing our health and saving human lives. Interpretation of medical images is no easy task and, in some cases, it comes with its own set of challenges. Yet radiologists are equipped to deal with these uncertainties, especially in a challenging period like the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, where the radiologists together with the rest of the medical community is tirelessly working to care for the patients who are in need. On this day of International Day of Radiology, let us thank and remember the important contributions made by the radiologist community to the humankind!
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