[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
We aimed to describe the characteristics of medical emergencies that occurred in the medical imaging department (MID) of a university hospital in Melbourne, Australia. A database of 'Respond Medical Emergency Team (MET)' and 'Respond Blue' calls was retrospectively examined for the period June 2003 to November 2010 in relation to events that occurred in the MID. The hospital medical imaging database was also examined in relation to these events and, where necessary, patients' notes were reviewed. Ethics approval was granted by the hospital ethics review board. There were 124 medical emergency calls in the MID during the study period, 28% Respond Blue and 72% Respond MET. Of these 124 calls, 26% occurred outside of usual work hours and 12% involved cardiac arrest. The most common reasons for the emergency calls were seizures (14%) and altered conscious state (13%). Contrast anaphylaxis precipitated the emergency in 4% of cases. In 83% of cases the emergency calls were for patients attending the MID for diagnostic imaging, the remainder being for a procedure. Of the scheduled imaging techniques, 45% were for computed tomography. The scheduled imaging was abandoned due to the emergency in 12% of cases. When performed, imaging informed patient management in 34% of cases in diagnostic imaging and in all cases in the context of image-guided procedures. Medical emergency calls in the MID often occurred outside usual work hours and were attributed to a range of medical problems. The emergencies occurred in relation to all imaging techniques and imaging informed patient management in many cases.