Imaging at British rock festival gains digital legs

December 7, 2009

Launched in 2008, the imaging center at the Glastonbury outdoor rock event in the U.K. is on the verge of becoming an institution. The center was reopened at the 2009 festival, this time with a portable digital radiography machine. A poster at the RSNA meeting reported good results, along with plans to expand in 2010.

Launched in 2008, the imaging center at the Glastonbury outdoor rock event in the U.K. is on the verge of becoming an institution. The center was reopened at the 2009 festival, this time with a portable digital radiography machine. A poster at the RSNA meeting reported good results, along with plans to expand in 2010.

The digital exhibit showed a total of two years’ experience since the inception of the charity imaging service, and provided an expanded data set on both DR and ultrasound use at the festival.

The goal this year remained the same as last year: to evaluate patients’ bone injuries onsite, thereby avoiding the need to send all those with suspected breaks to a local emergency room. Dr. Mark Regi, imaging coordinator for the U.K.’s Festival Medical Services charity, provided the update at the RSNA meeting.

The idea of onsite imaging is to have 24-hour-a-day access to digital x-rays and ultrasound imaging for the typically young, healthy festival-goers and obviate their having to leave the site for treatment.

“Otherwise, the cost is £200 for each patient transferred.” Dr. Regi said.

The imaging services operation had a total of 600 staff treating more than 4000 people over the six-day festival in 2009. There were two field hospitals and 16 treatment bays, with 10 ambulances onsite and 10 offsite. Diseases showed up this year that were not seen last year, including three cases of swine flu and one case of pneumonia. Two births and one death also occurred.

Comparing this year’s event with the 2008 festival showed a 62% increase in the number of x-rays (from 93 to 151). The scans confirmed 56 fractures this year compared with 36 last year, and 46 transfers (to hospital) saved compared with 28 last year.

So, from 2008 to 2009, the addition of the portable DR machine permitted a great increase in the number of imaged patients. Another change is that Toshiba supplied a new Viamo ultrasound machine and an applications specialist. This allowed inclusion of an ob/gyn service for all pregnancies. Next year, there are plans for further expansion.

Overall, more patients this year were saved from offsite transfers by confirming stable fracture patterns, providing conservative treatments, and managing dislocated joints onsite.