Ronald Grainger

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 11 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6740
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Contrast media expert who was instrumental in the development of radiology as a specialty

Ronald Grainger, professor of radiology, was instrumental in the development of radiology as a specialty. He was a prodigious worker who, as well as running a busy clinical practice, wrote hundreds of papers and wrote and edited several seminal textbooks.

He was a specialist in contrast media—agents that show up images and systems on x ray films and scans—and he conducted research on new types of non-ionic contrast media. These were safer than traditional media as they were less toxic and caused fewer allergic reactions and less pain on injection. This was a boon for both patients and doctors as patients were less likely to move around during investigations, thereby reducing image quality.

This work changed how congenital and acquired heart disease, as well as a range of neurological disorders, was diagnosed. It also led to Grainger being asked to conduct the UK clinical trials of four major contrast agents. His other research interests included the radiological evaluation of the pulmonary and bronchial circulations and their influence on health and disease.

Grainger co-wrote several radiological textbooks, including the first edition of the Textbook of Radiology with …

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