Objective: To better understand the consultative role of the radiology resident after hours.
Methods: Data were collected prospectively from Mar. 15, 1999, to Jan. 5, 2001, during on-call coverage hours at our university hospital. Urgent radiologic examinations for which the on-call resident rendered a preliminary interpretation were included in our analysis, with the following entered into a database: patient demographics, consultative time and weekday, imaging modality, consulting clinical service and indication for each study.
Results: A total of 1784 studies were performed on 1451 patients; most were requested by the emergency department (844 cases [47.3%]). The mean number of radiographic studies performed was 20.1 (standard error of the mean [SEM] 1.1) per weekday (n = 44) and 49.4 (SEM 1.8) per weekend day or holiday (n = 18). There were 1227 (68.8%) computed tomographic (CT), 338 (18.9%) ultrasonographic, 98 (5.5%) plain radiograph, 63 (3.5%) nuclear medicine, 21 (1.2%) interventional, 20 (1.1%) fluoroscopic and 17 (1.0%) magnetic resonance imaging examinations. The 3 most common studies were CT of the head in 692 cases, CT of the abdomen in 230 and venous Doppler ultrasonography in 158.
Conclusions: Radiology residents are performing a diverse and increasing number of emergent diagnostic examinations after hours. It is therefore important that radiology departments are aware of these consultative needs to best ensure that appropriate resident skills are developed to meet these demands.