Is the chest x-ray interpretation still important for internal medicine or intensive care specialists?

Julian Dobranowski, MD, FRCPC FCAR
Professor Radiology, Chair of the Department of Radiology McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

In which settings should clinicians use basic skills of chest x-ray interpretation? In some cases, there is probably no time to wait for a radiologist’s consultation…

The way the radiology department works is the x-ray examination is performed, and then it's transferred into the pack system, and then you await the radiologists interpretation of that report too. In the emergency departments or in the intensive care units the examination is performed and you can't wait for the radiologists interpretation. So it behooves the intensivists and the emergency physicians to be able to interpret those x-rays on their own at the point of care. Of course, there is also importance to have a consultation with the radiology department, if there's uncertainty about the examinations.

Dr. Julian Dobranowski is a professor and chair of the Department of Radiology at McMaster University, chief of diagnostic imaging at Niagara Health, and provincial head for the Cancer Imaging Program at Cancer Care Ontario.

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