After starting diagnostic radiology residency, I am definitely a little more biased on reviewing radiology related apps.

What intrigues me the most now are apps that relate to clinicians and radiologists both.

“Rad-Rx” is one app that I have kept on my phone for a while now that I do believe deserves some credit and attention from both radiologists and clinicians.

Rad-Rx, from the radiology group Quantum Imaging & Therapeutic Associates, Inc., is a simple app that provides guidelines and recommendations on contrast material administration and contrast reaction treatments, which are both very commonly encountered issues in the clinical setting.

What worries patients, clinicians, and radiologists about intravenous contrast material is two-fold. First, allergic reactions are commonly associated with intravenous contrast material and the reactions are unpredictable and vary among a wide spectrum of symptoms. Second, intravenous contrast material is usually renally excreted which may cause additional stress to already damaged kidneys that may or may not be reversible.

Also, if kidneys are not completely functional, patients receiving contrast material may encounter even more serious systemic consequences. For these reasons, the administration of contrast material is greatly scrutinized by clinicians and radiologists, and caution must always be taken when intravenous contrast is involved.

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Rad-Rx is a very simple text-based app that combines multiple resources, including guidelines from the American College of Radiology (ACR), to facilitate users in making decisions regarding intravenous contrast administration and on contrast reaction treatments. The interface is clean and navigation is simple to use. The information is categorized adequately which makes accessing the information of interest quick without needing to dig through multiple layers of links/lists or filter through paragraphs of text.

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Usually in situations of contrast reactions, hopefully there is someone well equipped and trained to respond promptly without needing to refer to guidelines.

However, of course, there are those who are still in training (residents) and still have not yet developed the confidence and readiness to deal with these potentially life-threatening situations. In these cases, having the most up-to-date guidelines at your finger tips would definitely be helpful. Rad-Rx can serve as a quick reminder during urgent situations to reinforce that information memorized some time ago for trainees.

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For the clinician, taking care of patients with contrast allergies is common, but sometimes ordering contrast imaging studies is unavoidable. Knowing the current guidelines for premedication would help prepare the patient adequately and safely for the study and prevent breakthrough reactions from occurring.

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Rad-Rx also provides information, including brand info, on administration of iodinated contrast for CT scans or gadolinium for MR studies depending on the eGFR (kidney function) for patients suffering from chronic renal disease.

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One downside of this app is that there has not been an update for more than a year on Google Play. That was acceptable and reasonable until the new 2012 release of ACR’s “Manual on Contrast Media Ver. 8.” Not much has changed regarding contrast administration in this new updated manual, and although pretty much all the information in the app is still up-to-date (and identical) to ACR’s recommendations, an update on their references would provide a little more confidence and creditability to the app.

Again, although information is pretty up-to-date with current guidelines, I still recommend double checking and making sure the guidelines coincide with your own institution’s protocols, which may vary due to local patient population variations. Perhaps including a customizable section for users to input their own institution’s protocols that differ from ACR’s guidelines, such as creatinine level cut-offs for contrast studies, would increase the utility of the app.

Review Version: 2.0
Phone used for review: Samsung Galaxy S III

Price:

  • Free

Likes:

  • Clean and concise interface with easy access to information.
  • Strong reference sources from an app developed by a professional radiology group.
  • Accurate information reflecting ACR’s “Manual on Contrast Media.”

Disikes:

  • No updates since Dec, 2010, despite a release of an updated version (Ver. 8) of ACR’s “Manual on Contrast Media.”
  • Local institutional protocols may differ from the app’s guidelines, which would greatly limit the app’s utility.

Conclusion:

  • To summarize, Rad-Rx is pretty much a concise summary of ACR’s “Manual of Contrast Media” in a smartphone app format
  • All in all, Rad-Rx is an easy-to-use reference tool for critical information regarding contrast materials most suited to trainees such as resident physicians or radiology assistants
  • As a radiology resident myself, I definitely will keep this app handy and routinely review the app to familiarize myself with the guidelines in case I do need to respond to a life-threatening contrast reaction one day

Developer: Quantum Imaging & Therapeutic Associates, Inc.
Google Play Link