The Indian Radiological and Imaging Association has expressed shock and disappointment at the recent comments by Dr Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS on the use of CT Scans in the evaluation of Covid 19 patients, which has been widely circulated by the press and
According to the association, “the statement given by Dr Randeep are misleading and creates confusion among the public and his warning that one CT scan is equal to 300-400 X Rays and CT scans cause cancer is outdated and wrong”.
In a press release, issued by the association, it has put out many facts to clear the confusion:
RT PCR is the investigation of choice for diagnosing COVID 19 patients. However CT Scan is used in diagnosis in patients who have typical features of Covid 19 but are RTPCR negative due to mutant variant, technical errors or low viral load. CT Chest helps to diagnose these patients and early detection helps to start treatment and also stops them from being super spreaders. It is for this reason several state governments have asked the radiology departments to notify patients with CORADS score of 4 or 5.
While RTPCR helps in the diagnosis, CT Chest helps to stage the severity of disease, especially in symptomatic patients. CT Score given for COVID 19 patients helps the clinicians initiate treatment. This score helps the clinicians decide if the patient can be in home quarantine or needs hospital admission.
CT Chest is helpful to stage the disease mild, moderate or severe thereby contributing significantly in management. More over the progression of the disease can be monitored by CT especially in patients who are deteriorating.
“In a disease like Covid 19 which has a very unpredictable course Identifying at risk individuals early and timely initiation of treatment is of utmost importance. As CT is far more sensitive than saturation monitoring by pulse oximetry in detecting lung damage, in
the early phase of disease.”, says the association.
“Initiating steroids at the right time can halt the progression of lung involvement before saturation starts falling. Already hospitals are overburdened and with early administration of treatment, it might be possible to manage the patients at home . Earlier the treatment is
started, easier it is to save a patient, it further said.
Dr Randeep Guleria in his statement had claimed that one CT Chest is equal to 300-400 X rays. This is a very retrograde and was the situation 30-40 years ago. The modern CT Scanners use ultra low dose CT which has radiation comparable to only 5 – 10 x-rays.