CT Suite Preparedness, Chest Imaging Guidance, and COVID-19's Breast Imaging Impact

April 10, 2020

Diagnostic Imaging's Week in Review: April 10, 2020.

This week, Diagnostic Imaging's coverage takes a look at guidance to prepare your CT suite as the COVID-19 surge creeps closer to your facility, as well as recommendations that will help you identify cases where chest imaging in necessary. Breast imaging has also faced multiple challenges as the viral spread has pushed many practices to halt services. Additionally, researchers from China published a study confirming that children suffer a milder experience with COVID-19 than adults. Lastly, Diagnostic Imaging spoke with Eliot Siegel, M.D., professor and vice chair of radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, about his thoughts on proper use of artificial intelligence tools during the outbreak. 

Whitney Palmer: Welcome back to Diagnostic Imaging’s Week in Review where we continue to bring you updates on the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on radiology. I’m senior editor, Whitney Palmer. This week brought us a plethora of guidance and recommendations on how you should proceed with imaging during this time.

Although many locations throughout the country are feeling the weight of patients infected with COVID-19, there are hospitals nationwide that have yet to see the influx of viral transmission. Are these facilities – and their radiology departments – ready for the surge? If you find yourself in this position, researchers from the University of Southern California published guidance in the Journal of the American College of Radiology that can help you prepare, mobilize your resources, educate your staff, and test your readiness.

Guidance from radiology leadership organizations has been clear that chest imaging should not be used as a front-line tool to detect COVID-19 infection, but the role that chest X-rays and CT scan can and will play in managing the pandemic continues to emerge. Consequently, a group of radiologists, pulmonologists, and emergency medicine providers published guidance through the Fleischner Society in the journal Radiology. They offered five specific guidelines and three ancillary ones to help you identify the situations – and patients – where imaging is necessary.

Lung imaging has been the focus of this pandemic, but the viral outbreak has also had a signifcant impact on breast imaging. Elective procedures, such as screening mammograms, are being postponed, and many breast imaging centers have shuttered their doors for the foreseeable future. In an article published in the Journal of Breast Imaging, mammographers from multiple imaging centers across the country shared their experiences with staffing changes, reduced services, and increased attention to cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

One bit of bright news from the pandemic this week came from the journal Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging. Investigators from China published findings that showed children do, in fact, experience milder forms of COVID-19 infection. Not only do they constitute a small portion of the infected population – roughly 5 percent according to the World Health Organization – by they have milder symptoms, have less lung involvement on imaging, and need fewer CT scans.

And, finally, this week, Diagnostic Imagingspoke with Dr. Eliot Siegel, professor and vice chair of radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, about the role that artificial intelligence imaging tools can play in the COVID-19 pandemic. He shared his thoughts on the challenges, benefits, precautions, and long-term impact of using them.

Visit DiagnosticImaging.com for more on these stories and other news and expert insights. Thanks for watching Week in Review.