Evidence-Based Imaging of the Acute Abdomen: Where Is the Evidence?

  • Ania Z. Kielar
  • Cynthia B. Walsh
  • Matthew D. F. McInnes


Emergency radiology is still considered an emerging subspecialty compared to more established areas such as neuroradiology and abdominal-pelvic imaging. Although this suggests that less time has passed to allow dedicated research in imaging associated with emergency medicine, it also implies that there are opportunities for study in this field in the future.

In this introductory chapter, we emphasize the importance of evidence-based medicine in radiology and then specifically in the setting of an acute abdomen. Tools available for designing and reporting research are introduced: This includes QUADAS-2 (Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies), STARD (Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy), and PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) [1, 2]. We also expand on commonly accessed information currently used to help guide radiologists in diagnosis and decision making with regard to acute abdominal and pelvic conditions.

Perceived barriers to research in emergency radiology are reviewed. Tips and specific tools to implement when designing an emergency radiology research study are provided; this information may also be useful when critically appraising published literature. Finally, an overview of emerging research opportunities and innovative areas in emergency radiology research is introduced, with focus on acute abdominal conditions, all of which will be covered in more detail in subsequent chapters of this textbook.


Evidence-based medicine Levels of evidence Cross-sectional imaging Abdominal imaging Emergency radiology 



American College of Radiology


As low as reasonably achievable


Computed tomography


Emergency department


Emergency physicians


Left lower quadrant


Left upper quadrant


Magnetic resonance imaging


Negative predictive value


Patient, intervention, comparison, outcome


Positive predictive value


Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses


Quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies


Right lower quadrant


Right upper quadrant


Specific absorption rate


Standards for reporting of diagnostic accuracy




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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ania Z. Kielar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Cynthia B. Walsh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matthew D. F. McInnes
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medical ImagingThe Ottawa HospitalOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Radiology OttawaUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Ottawa Hospital Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of ImagingUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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