Is It Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot moves through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the lungs. Similarly, in a condition called deep vein thrombosis, clots form in the deep veins of the body, usually in the legs. A blood clot that breaks free and travels through a blood vessel is called an embolism. In either case, you’ll need medical treatment right away to prevent a blood clot from blocking blood flow to your lungs or your heart.

According to the CDC, between 60,000 and 100,000 Americans die every year from deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and as many as 900,000 people could be affected.

Sometimes these conditions are present with no symptoms at all. Otherwise, symptoms may include swelling, pain, and tenderness, often in the legs. Risk factors include hormone therapy, pregnancy, and extended periods of immobility such as a long car or plane trip.

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism

Call your doctor right away if you have these DVT symptoms, especially if they appear suddenly:

  • Swelling in one or both legs
  • Pain or tenderness in your leg, ankle, foot, or arm. It might feel like a cramp or charley horse that you can’t get rid of. Leg and foot pain might only happen when you stand or walk.
  • Warm skin on your leg
  • Red or discolored skin on your leg
  • Veins that are swollen, red, hard, or tender to the touch that you can see

Symptoms of an urgent condition include:

  • Sudden coughing, which may bring up blood
  • Sharp chest pain or chest tightness
  • Pain in your shoulder, arm, back, or jaw
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain when you breathe
  • Severe lightheadedness
  • Fast heartbeat

Tests Your Doctor May Order to Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Your doctor will usually begin by obtaining your medical history, as this may provide information about factors that caused the clot. In addition to performing a physical exam, your doctor may order one or more of the following tests:

  • Blood tests, such as D-dimer: This test looks for a protein that shows up in your blood when a clot starts to break down. If you have a clot, levels will be high.
  • Chest x-ray
  • CT Angiography: This non-invasive CT scan uses x-rays and an iodine-containing contrast material to produce pictures of the chest highlighting the blood vessels in the chest and lungs.
  • ECG (electrocardiography)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): You’ll lie still on a table while radio waves and a strong magnetic field make detailed pictures of the inside of your body on a computer. (You’ll hear loud tapping or knocking sounds during the test.) You might need to get an injection of contrast material to make your blood vessels show up better. An MRI can find DVT in your pelvis and thigh.
  • Venous ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to confirm the presence of a blood clot. Doppler ultrasound is a special technique that allows the doctor to see and evaluate blood flow through arteries and veins throughout your body. If the results are inconclusive, your doctor may use venography or MR angiography.
  • Venography: This is a special X-ray. The doctor injects a radioactive dye into a vein on the top of your foot to help them see your veins and maybe a clot.
  • V/Q Lung scan: This nuclear medicine exam uses a small amount of radioactive material (called a radiotracer) and a special camera to create pictures that show how blood and air are flowing throughout the lungs.

Learn More About DVT, PE, Blood Clots

CT Scans for Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism

Getting an Ultrasound to Better Diagnose Thyroid Problems

For many people, thyroid problems often go untreated. They differ from other endocrine issues in that the symptoms can imitate fatigue, sleeplessness or the common cold. People can live for years with the symptoms without ever realizing there is an issue.

About the Thyroid and Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is located in the front of the neck, right underneath the Adam’s apple, with two lobes on either side of the neck. It is a crucial part of the body because it releases hormones that are needed for every organ and process in the body. When the thyroid is having difficulty, everything from digestion to mood can be altered.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is releasing too many hormones into the body. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include an increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, feelings of excitement-heart palpitations, increased heart rate, abnormal perspiration.

Increases in daily bowel movements and the development of a goiter-an enlarged mass in the neck are indicative of a thyroid problem.

On the other end of the spectrum, if the thyroid is not producing enough hormones, the body’s functions suffer as well. Hormones are essential for starting, stopping, and maintaining the processes of the body — including appetite, instincts, and height. If your body is not producing enough hormones, you may notice an increased sensitivity to cold, tingling or the feeling of “pins and needles” in the hands and fingers. Some notice a reduced heart rate and prominent fatigue as well.

Diagnosing Thyroid Disorders With Ultrasound

Thyroid problems are common for as many as 20 million Americans, 60% of whom do not even realize their condition. According to the American Thyroid Association, women are 5 to 8 times more likely to develop thyroid problems and leaving thyroid disease undiagnosed can lead to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and infertility. Fortunately, determining thyroid problems is relatively easy. Most physicians will recommend having a blood test performed and an ultrasound scan in order to determine the presence of a thyroid disorder.

Ultrasounds use sound waves in order to interpret the inner happenings of the body, including checking to see if the thyroid contains a cyst or tumor. They are non-invasive. But sometimes physicians use ultrasounds to guide biopsy needles because ultrasound images can be seen in real-time. Ultrasounds cause no pain and there is no risk of radiation exposure either. Many people think that ultrasounds are only used during pregnancy but ultrasounds are one preferred method for many conditions like heart murmurs, prostate complications, and internal bleeding.

When examining the thyroid gland, technicians will place the transducer (ultrasound wand) over the thyroid in order to observe its size and shape.

If you have any of the symptoms above or are worried that you may be developing thyroid complications, talk to your doctors. And, if needed, make your ultrasound appointment with Doctors Imaging. You can call 504-883-8111 or by fill out the Request an Appointment Form.

Learn More Thyroid Health and Ultrasounds

Radiologist Explains Thyroid Ultrasound by RadiologyInfo.org

Get the Facts on Thyroid Disorders

January is Thyroid Awareness Month promoted by the American Thyroid Association. Most of us will be lucky to go our entire lives blissfully unaware of this butterfly-shaped gland in our neck that regulates our hormones.


But, amazingly, 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop thyroid problems at some point in their lives. This means that 20 million Americans have some kind of thyroid disorder. To put that number into perspective, that is more than twice the total population of New York City. Women are between five and eight times more likely to have a thyroid problem than men, which means one in every eight women will experience a problem in their lifetime.

These statistics may seem alarming. But it’s important to realize that most thyroid disorders are manageable with treatment. And because the causes for thyroid disorders are largely unknown, it is imperative that people get tested.

Screenings and early treatment help allow the significant number of Americans with thyroid problems live normal and healthy lives. At Doctors Imaging, we offer high-resolution thyroid ultrasound to evaluate thyroid problems. We offer these non-invasive scans at a price up to 50 percent less than the neighboring hospitals helping keep the New Orleans community as healthy as possible.

Learn More Thyroid Health and Ultrasounds

Radiologist Explains Thyroid Ultrasound by RadiologyInfo.org

Common Ultrasound Exams for Women’s Health

Technician uses handheld ultrasound device
Most women are familiar with ultrasounds for supplemental breast cancer screenings and pregnancy imaging, but what are the other occasions when a physician might order an ultrasound exam for women? Learn more about the life-saving capabilities these ultrasound exams provide.

How Ultrasounds Work

Ultrasounds use a combination of sound waves and computer technology to create internal images that doctors and patients seek. Ultrasounds are often used as a preliminary method of imaging. This means that when doctors suspect a problem and think that it is an area that the ultrasound will be able to view, they will use this method first because ultrasounds aren’t invasive or have side effects. Ultrasounds examine the internal organs, tissues and blood flow throughout the body, determining the blood flow through the heart, imaging breast tissue and guiding biopsy needles.

Almost any part of the body can undergo an ultrasound exam which makes it a faithful go-to for doctors.

These Are the Ultrasound Exams Many Women Receive

BREAST CARE: Ultrasound of the breast may be used for women who are at high risk for breast cancer or women who are pregnant and should not be exposed to x-rays used in a mammogram. Ultrasound of the breast can also be used to screen women who have dense breast tissue, meaning there are a lot of ducts, glands, fibrous tissue and less fat making it harder to find cancers with a mammogram.

HEART HEALTH: A major benefit that ultrasounds can provide for women is helping women determine their possibility of heart attack or stroke. Both of these conditions occur when the blood flow to the brain or heart is blocked. By using ultrasound technology, doctors can hear problems like weak valves, blockages, and murmurs. Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world and the highest killer of women around the world. The best way to combat this statistic, besides better health, diet, and exercise, is to have regularly scheduled check-ups with your primary care physician. As you get older, your doctor will likely recommend several kinds of tests to determine your cardiac health, so don’t forget to sign up for a cardiac ultrasound. The ability to see movement via ultrasound is particularly beneficial for those women concerned with their cardiac health as the movement of blood will be the biggest indicator of that problem.

PELVIC: In women, a pelvic ultrasound is most often performed to evaluate these parts of the body:

  • uterus
  • cervix
  • ovaries
  • bladder

Ultrasound examinations can help diagnose symptoms experienced by women such as:

  • pelvic pain
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • other menstrual problems

Ultrasound exams also help identify:

  • palpable masses such as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids
  • ovarian or uterine cancers

PREGNANCY: Ultrasounds are the best form of medical imaging for expectant mothers because ultrasounds are non-invasive and do not have the concern of radiation. Mothers can see their baby’s outline, hear their heartbeat and determine their child’s health.

TRANSVAGINAL: These exams go across or through the vagina (the genital canal in the female, extending from the uterus to the vulva). A transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed to view the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and the ovaries. Transvaginal ultrasound also evaluates the myometrium (muscular walls of the uterus). Sonohysterography allows for a more in-depth investigation of the uterine cavity. These exams are typically performed to detect:

  • uterine anomalies
  • uterine scars
  • endometrial polyps
  • fibroids
  • cancer, especially in patients with abnormal uterine bleeding

Learn More About Ultrasound Exams

Common Ultrasound Exams for Men and How They Help

When checking for male-specific health problems, doctors frequently use ultrasound exams for men’s scrotum and testicular health. The goal of any imaging procedure is to have a clear picture of the examined area so that a physician can make the best treatment choice for you. If you are a man and wondering what the advantages could be to having an ultrasound performed, you may want to learn more about your upcoming ultrasound exam below before scheduling an appointment.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images. The same way that sonar works for marine science, sound waves are emitted through the body and when they come into contact with a structure, whether it is an organ or other mass, that structure sends the sound waves back to the ultrasound machine. The machine then interprets the sound waves to determine things like size and location.

Ultrasound procedures are completely painless. They also do not use ionizing radiation, so they are considered harmless.

Ultrasound Exams for Scrotum and Testicular Health

Ultrasounds are best for providing images of the scrotum and surrounding tissues. Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum is usually completed within 15 to 30 minutes, though sometimes more time is necessary. Physicians use ultrasound technology to determine the presence of masses, infertility, and testicular injury.

  • Ultrasounds are also used for checking the possibility of testicular cancer.
  • Pain, swelling, inflammation could be symptomatic of epididymitis or testicular torsion, a condition that reduces blood supply to the scrotum and requires immediate surgery.
  • Undescended testes affect up to 30% of boys, and if not properly monitored the condition contains a high risk of developing cancer.

After your ultrasound exam, a radiologist will analyze your ultrasound images. Next, the radiologist will send a signed report to the doctor who ordered your exam. Finally, your doctor will share the results with you or you can log in to our patient portal for a summary of the exam results.

Are you looking for an Ultrasound facility in Louisiana? Make an appointment with Doctors Imaging through our online appointment request form or by calling 504-883-8111.

Learn More About Ultrasound Exams

Common Ultrasound Exams and How They Help

Ultrasounds are a very common form of medical imaging. They are painless, offer no risk of radiation, and can provide details of the interior of the body without making a single incision. However, there are various kinds of ultrasounds that can be administered for different parts of the body for different conditions.

Most people are aware of ultrasounds in relation to pregnancy. Ultrasounds use sonar power or sound waves in order to create images of internal organs without having to make incisions or use contrast material. Sound waves reverberate off the organs and bones and the ultrasound machine interprets the change in sound waves and uses computer technology to make an image. Because of the comfort on the part of the patient in concert with the information gleaned for doctors, ultrasounds are now able to do so much more.

Common Ultrasound Exams and How They Help You and Your Doctor

Ultrasound exams can determine problems like internal bleeding, vascular problems, and reproductive or sexual issues.

  • Abdomen: Most often ultrasound is used in the abdomen to see the abdominal aorta, bladder, liver, pancreas, and spleen.
    These exams will help your physician investigate blockages, pain, enlargement, malformation, narrowing of vessels, tumors, or abnormal function.
  • Appendix: When bacteria in the appendix are blocked from leaving, the appendix becomes irritated. Ultrasounds can help doctors determine the extent of the infection.
  • Carotid Doppler/Vascular: Doppler ultrasound can map the movement of blood through veins and arteries in the body. This is extremely useful if there is a possible blockage in the artery. Blood blockages are what cause conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, amputations, and other kinds of problems. The most common places to perform a Doppler ultrasound are at the neck and abdominal arteries leading to and from the brain and heart, mainly the aortic and carotid arteries. During this exam, the transducer (ultrasound wand) is held against the neck with ultrasound gel to prevent air pockets from forming as sound cannot penetrate the air. Patients report hearing pulse-like sounds when the procedure is happening. A carotid Doppler ultrasound differs from other forms of ultrasound because it measures the direction and speed of blood cells as they move throughout the vessels. The movement causes a change in the pitch of reverberating sound waves. This way doctors can tell if there is a blockage or damage to the vessel that could be detrimental to the healthy blood flow needed in the body. If you are concerned about cardiovascular health or high blood pressure, your doctor might consider having one of these ultrasounds performed. If you are aware that you are at high risk for heart attack or stroke, having crucial medical information gained from ultrasounds could save your life. Vascular ultrasounds help identify blockages in the arteries and veins and detect blood clots. This exam can help your doctor determine whether you are a good candidate for angioplasty procedures. Doctors use this exam to diagnose and evaluate varicose veins.
  • DVT/Venous: Clots that occur in larger veins are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can also occur in smaller veins that are closer to the skin. Symptoms of blood clots in the legs and arms vary and may include pain or cramping, swelling, tenderness, warmth to the touch and bluish- or red-colored skin. A blood clot can be life-threatening depending on the location and severity. Venous ultrasound: This test is usually the first step for confirming a venous blood clot, especially in the veins of the leg. Sound waves are used to create a view of your veins. A Doppler ultrasound may be used to help visualize blood flow through your veins. If the results of the ultrasound are inconclusive, venography or MR angiography may be used.
    This condition is often referred to as deep vein thrombosis or DVT (see above). A venous ultrasound study is also performed to determine the cause of long-standing leg swelling.
  • Gallbladder: Ultrasounds can determine the presence of gallstones which form when bits of cholesterol and others materials in bile combine to form solid masses.
  • Kidney and Kidney Stones: Kidney and bladder stones are solid build-ups of crystals made from minerals and proteins found in urine. Certain bladder conditions and urinary tract infections can increase your chance of developing stones. Your doctor may use an abdominal and pelvic CT scan, intravenous pyelogram, or abdominal or pelvic ultrasound to help diagnose your condition. If a kidney stone becomes lodged in the ureter or urethra, it can cause constant severe pain in the back or side, vomiting, hematuria (blood in the urine), fever, or chills.
  • Thyroid: Ultrasounds use sound waves in order to interpret the inner happenings of the body, including checking to see if the thyroid contains a cyst or tumor.

You can Request an Appointment online. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday.

Learn More About Ultrasound Exams

What Happens When My Child Gets Medical Imaging?


When children get sick or injured, it’s up to the parents and physicians to work together to find the best treatment options for the child. If your child requires hospitalization or surgery, then your child’s pediatrician will likely order one of these common medical imaging exams for children. Learn more about the common types of medical imaging, as well as the benefits and risks of each procedure.

All About Common Medical Imaging Exams for Children

Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are one of the most common and frequently used medical imaging procedures.  Ultrasounds use sound waves and computer technology to see into the internal structures of the body. Because of the lack of radiation used, they are completely safe to perform on children. Women will often have several ultrasounds performed throughout their pregnancy and all are harmless. Ultrasounds can help determine conditions like cardiovascular birth defects, dysfunction in the reproductive organs, injuries after traumatic incidents like falls or car accidents, and possible cancerous masses. This procedure is also completely painless for children so there is no need for sedation or anesthesia.

CT Scan / CAT Scan

A CT Scan or CAT scan is another medical imaging procedure that your doctor may ask to perform. CT scans use a combination of X-ray and computer technology to examine the body and form images for further study. CT scans are commonly performed when doctors need cross-sectional images of the internal organs such as the chest cavity, abdominal areas, or the brain. If your doctor needs to perform a pediatric CT, the child may be asked to not eat for several hours prior to the examination so that the images will not be distorted. Children will also have to remain very still and silent during the scan. A common practice for CT scans is to administer contrast material so certain growths or blockages can be seen better. Contrast material can be given to a child through an IV or by swallowing the solution. If your child has allergies or a kidney condition, you should inform the doctor or technician prior to the scan.

CT scans use small amounts of radiation in order to better highlight the different types of structures in the body. Although the dose is relatively small, repeated CT scans can incur a slightly higher risk of cancer. But the advantages in diagnosis that CT scans can provide far outweigh the potential risk. The best way to limit the exposure is to only have CT scans performed when they are essential and to have the mechanisms narrowed onto one part of the child’s body. Discuss options with your doctor and child.

X-Rays

X-rays are another extremely common medical imaging procedure performed on both adults and children. If your child has a recent injury or needs surgery, doctors will often ask that an X-ray be performed to determine conditions like bone fractures, breaks and growth dysfunctions. X-rays are performed relatively quickly so the time your child spends exposed to the small doses of radiation is limited. Ask your doctor or imaging facility if they use analog X-rays or digital. Digital X-rays use much smaller doses of radioactive material to examine the body.

MRI

MRI or a magnetic resonance imaging exam is an imaging practice that doctors will usually perform if the child has a cardiovascular or brain condition, bleeding problems, childhood cancer or a type of growth disorder. MRIs use no forms of radiation so children are safe to have this procedure performed. MRIs use radio and magnetic waves to excite the atoms within the body and then use computer technology to collect these atoms and form the image of the body. Possible points of discomfort for a child would be remaining still for very long and having contrast material administered.

Having any medical imaging procedure performed can be a scary experience for both parents and children. But it is important to remember that these tests are created to improve the health of children. If you have serious reservations or fears, speak with a doctor or technologist about all of your questions. Your child cannot ask these questions, so it your job to stay informed and calm so they can stay healthy and happy.

Doctors Imaging is prepared for your child’s visit to our calm office environment. Scheduling is simple, and you can either do it online, or by simply calling 504-883-8111.

Learn More About Medical Imaging:

Painful Signs and Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems


Like its cousin, the appendix, the necessity of the gallbladder is often debated. However, despite popular belief, the gallbladder provides a necessary function of a body. The gallbladder is a small pouch that is found below the liver. Within this pouch, bile is stored. Bile is a fluid that the liver produces in aiding the breakdown of fats and digestion. The liver is a factory. But the gallbladder is the storage warehouse. They work together but can be independent.

When the gallbladder is experiencing problems, the rest of the body usually reacts rather quickly. Depending on the severity of discomfort, gallbladder pain can be symptomatic of a few conditions:

    Gallstones are the most common cause of gallbladder pain. Gallstones occur when bits of cholesterol and others materials in bile combine together and form solid masses. These masses are typically no larger than a pencil eraser but that does not mean they are any less painful. Pregnant women and those who are overweight and losing weight rapidly are more prone to gallstones. For some, the pain comes and goes. But for others, it needs immediate treatment.

    Another cause of gallbladder pain could be a condition related to gallstones called biliary colic. This occurs when bile leaves the gallbladder through the cystic duct and into the small intestine where it begins to break down the food we eat. However, if there is a gallstone blocking that duct, the body can have a serious reaction. Fever, sweats, constipation and severe abdominal pain are the typical symptoms of this condition. Luckily these episodes usually only last an hour or two.

    More severe problems associated with gallstones include cholecystitis or inflamed gallbladder. When there are too many gallstones, a life of excessive drinking, or some infections, the gallbladder can become swollen and irritated. If the condition persists without treatment, bacteria from the intestines can make their way into the gallbladder and lead to infection. If symptoms persist, the gallbladder can eventually rupture and need immediate surgical removal.

    Frequent gallstones can lead to chronic gallstone disease. Symptoms can include frequent indigestion, gas, and diarrhea due to the hampered digestive tract.

The pain from these conditions can range from the abdominal area and radiate upwards into the back and shoulder areas. Other noticeable symptoms can be painful cramping, unusual swelling of the stomach as well as vomiting and fever.

Gallbladder pain is located in the mid- or upper-right section of the abdomen. The pain often comes and goes. Intensity can range from mild to severe. Gallbladder pain often causes pain in the chest and back.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, medical attention is the best way to discern what kind of treatment you may need. Seek medical attention right away if you experience:

  • upper-right quadrant pain that does not resolve within five hours
  • fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • changes in bowel movements and urination

For any gallbladder problem, doctors will commonly start with an ultrasound exam. Ultrasounds are best for determining the presence of gallstones. Because of the solid nature of stones, they are easily detectable, especially in digital ultrasounds.

Ultrasounds are non-invasive and they can allow doctors to see the problem in real-time making them the fastest choice for doctors and the easiest on patients. If doctors want to see more detailed images, they may ask the patient to undergo an MRI with contrast material. The contrast material in an MRI is not harmful unless the patient has kidney dysfunction. But the contrast allows doctors to track the trajectory of the dye through the body, highlighting diseased tissue and blockages.

If you have concerns about gallstones or need to schedule your medical imaging, call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111. You can also complete our online appointment request form.

Learn More About Ultrasounds:

Know the Symptoms of Appendicitis in Kids


Appendicitis is one of the primary causes of childhood surgery and if parents cannot recognize the symptoms quickly, it can lead to a great deal of pain for children and fear for parents.

What is the Appendix? The appendix is a small pouch, about 4-5 inches long, that rests on the front, right side of the body and connects to the large intestine. The appendix is an organ that most physicians believe serves no function because of the lack of symptoms after removal. Researchers theorize that the appendix might be an organ that can reboot the immune system with healthy bacteria after a bout of infection in the digestive system.

How Does the Appendix Become Infected?

When bacteria is trapped in the appendix, the organ becomes inflamed due to antibodies flooding the organ in the hopes of fighting off dangerous infections. Trapped bacteria can be the result of a hard collection of stool or by pressure on the lymph node in the groin. When the bacteria in the appendix are blocked from leaving, the appendix becomes irritated. This is usually when the abdominal pain begins in children.

What are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

Early Symptoms: An early symptom of appendicitis is pain, often in the center of the abdomen but sometimes on the right side. The pain may be dull at first but may become more sharp or severe. Accompanying symptoms may include slight fever (above normal but less than 100 degrees), vomiting or nausea. Some individuals, particularly children, experience loss of appetite.

Later Symptoms: As the condition progresses, severe pain is usually felt in the lower right part of the abdomen. As the appendix becomes further inflamed, symptoms may include:

  • severe or worsening pain or cramping in the abdomen, rectum or back
  • swelling or tenderness in the abdomen
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • high fever (over 100 degrees)
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • inability to expel gas

Appendicitis can be difficult to diagnose because a number of other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Not everyone with appendicitis exhibits all of these symptoms. If you or your child have any of these symptoms, particularly abdominal pain that continues to worsen, contact your doctor immediately.

If the appendix pain is left untreated, the organ will fill with pus and bacteria causing it to rupture. A ruptured appendix will cause extreme abdominal pain along with other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, loss of energy and appetite and will need urgent medical attention. If your child is complaining of persistent stomach ache or pain and it hurts to touch their right side of their body, you can be almost sure that their appendix is infected and needs to be removed.

Appendicitis in children is often the child’s first experience with any kind of surgery. Broken bones, falls and accidents are more typical reasons why children seek urgency medical attention, so if you can recognize that your child is displaying the symptoms of appendicitis, they will be understandably frightened. Try to keep them as calm as possible until a physician can see them.

How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

A physician or other healthcare provider will perform one or all of the following tests to determine the extent of the appendix infection.

  • Often, they’ll begin with a physical examination by pressing gently on the area and checking the child’s vitals.
  • After that, an ultrasound will be performed on the child. Ultrasounds use the power of sound waves in order to image the interior of the body. Ultrasounds are totally painless and can help doctors determine the extent of the infection and whether it can be treated and minimized with antibiotics or if surgery is necessary.
  • They may also recommend having a CT scan performed to determine the presence of appendicitis in children. CT scans (also known as CAT scans) use the power of X-rays and computer software to create cross-sectional images of the organs and soft tissues of the body. CT scans can be extremely beneficial in pediatric appendicitis cases in order to rule out other causes of abdominal pain like injury or bleeding.
  • An MRI may be used to help diagnose or evaluate symptoms associated with appendicitis because it is non-invasive, fast, and does not use ionizing radiation.
  • In some cases, an abdominal or chest x-ray may be the initial imaging study. Constipation and sometimes even pneumonia may be causing abdominal pain similar to that seen with appendicitis.

How is Appendicitis Treated?

There are three treatment options for appendicitis in children:

  1. Removal of the appendix with surgery. Small incisions and laparoscopy are usual methods to remove of the appendix. The child will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days and be discharged with antibiotics.
  2. If the appendix is ruptured, surgery is needed immediately. Once the appendix is removed, the child will have to stay in under hospital observation for several days — possibly longer than a week to monitor infection or fever.
  3. Interval appendectomy is treating an appendix infection with antibiotics. As the infection subsides, surgery becomes more an option rather than a necessity.

Learn more about appendicitis:

What to do if Your Child Swallowed an Object

Any parent will tell you that children do not come with instruction manuals. They are curious, messy and sometimes the only way they learn to not do something, is to do it. That is why so often, 911 dispatchers and pediatricians get that frantic call from a parent that their child has swallowed something. If you are the parent of a child, there are a few steps that need to be followed.

1. Make Sure They Aren’t Choking

Sometimes when kids swallow things, it can end up in their stomach or in their windpipe. If the child is coughing, grabbing at their throat or having difficulty breathing, that tiny piece might be caught in their windpipe. Only try to grab the object if you can clearly see it in the throat, otherwise, you may push it further into the windpipe. If they are showing that they are choking or are overwhelmed, give them the Heimlich Maneuver.

2. Try to Determine What the Object Was

We understand, you turned your back for one second and that is all it took for your child to ingest something they weren’t suppose to. Not only are children curious, but they are also quick. For younger children, using the mouth as an exploratory instrument is pretty standard. See if there are missing pieces and parts around where the child was playing. If it was toxic, like household chemicals or batteries, call your local poison control center. Seek medical attention for sharp, metallic or unknown objects that the child may have ingested.

3. Speak to Your Doctor about Ultrasound or X-ray

Typically speaking, if a child swallows something like coins or toy pieces, they usually pass them on their own. However, sharp objects can sometimes cause painful tearing or bowel movements. That is why Doctors Imaging recommends having your child undergo proper medical imaging procedures in order to determine the condition of internal organs after foreign-body ingestion.

For most children and their parents, swallowing something unintentionally can be a scary moment. That is why medical imaging procedures can be more difficult. Scared children are commonly difficult to maneuver. However, most doctors will recommend having X-rays performed in order to track the foreign object. Not all objects will show up on an X-ray. Ultrasounds are easier to perform because they do not require the child to be separated from parents and does not expose them to radiation. However, X-rays are really the only fool-proof method available to track a swallowed object if it has material that is visible and even if not visible may show some changes in the airway or in the lungs; and if in the digestive system, may help to make sure it does as little damage as possible on its way out of the body. For those parents concerned about radiation exposure, some imaging facilities such as Doctors Imaging, utilize digital X-rays which use the least possible radiation and provide even clearer images.

In an emergency, call 911. When you’re ready for your next medical imaging appointment, please call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111 or simply request your appointment online.