Helical CT in emergency radiology

Radiology. 1999 Nov;213(2):321-39. doi: 10.1148/radiology.213.2.r99nv01321.


Today, a wide range of traumatic and nontraumatic emergency conditions are quickly and accurately diagnosed with helical computed tomography (CT). Many traditional emergency imaging procedures have been replaced with newer helical CT techniques that can be performed in less time and with greater accuracy, less patient discomfort, and decreased cost. The speed of helical technology permits CT examination of seriously ill patients in the emergency department, as well as patients who might not have been taken to CT previously because of the length of the examinations of the past. Also, helical technology permits multiple, sequential CT scans to be quickly obtained in the same patient, a great advance for the multiple-trauma patient. Higher quality CT examinations result from decreased respiratory misregistration, enhanced intravenous contrast material opacification of vascular structures and parenchymal organs, greater flexibility in image reconstruction, and improved multiplanar and three-dimensional reformations. This report summarizes the role and recommended protocols for the helical CT diagnosis of thoracic aortic trauma; aortic dissection; pulmonary embolism; acute conditions of the neck soft tissues; abdominal trauma; urinary tract stones; appendicitis; diverticulitis; abdominal aortic aneurysm; fractures of the face, spine, and extremities; and acute stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Acute Disease
  • Aneurysm, Dissecting / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Appendicitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Diverticulitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Emergencies
  • Facial Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Facial Bones / injuries
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnostic imaging
  • Neck Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / economics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / trends
  • Ureteral Calculi / diagnostic imaging