From the late 19th century through the 20th century and beyond, war and conflict among both technologically advanced and less sophisticated countries has been commonplace. Wartime causes traumatic injury to combatants as well as civilians. Regardless of the technology used, whether it was mortars in World War I or drones in the current Iraqi-Afghanistan conflict, the end result is still traumatic injury or death. The injured need to be triaged and treated based on the severity of the injury. A key modality for this, regardless of the nation's technology or lack thereof, is the conventional medical radiography modalities of X-ray or fluoroscopy. The availability and mobility of these modalities have changed over the years, and more recently, transitioned to a digital format. War and medicine seem to coexist in a quagmire; conventional warfare is designed to hurt or cause damage, while the goal of medicine is to heal. In this article, the history of the use of X-ray and fluoroscopy on the battlefield will be reviewed, as well as its evolution. Future uses of and changes to these modalities will also be discussed.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Examine the history of medical X-ray and fluoroscopy in a battlefield environment and how it has evolved.
- Evaluate the changes in technology during each time period that affected the type of radiographic equipment utilized and peripherals.
- Discuss the various contributors to battlefield X-ray and fluoroscopy inventions and their impact.
- Describe some of the future, potential developments in X-ray and fluoroscopy technology that can improve care of the wounded soldiers and civilians.
Categories: X-ray, Radiography