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Health Series: Research Spotlight

COVID-19 in the radiology department: What radiographers need to know

Review of literature suggests medical imaging and radiographers play important role in the diagnosis of COVID-19 patients.

by Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer)

Using their expertise and a range of state-of-the-art imaging technology and techniques, radiographers work with other healthcare professionals to delineate what disease or condition is causing a patient’s illness.

To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, radiographers need to be equipped with the best information available to understand the potential risks posed by the virus to patient and practitioners, and to optimise imaging quality as a tool to facilitate more accurate diagnosis, management and follow up of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

At the time of its publication (3rd June, 2020), a recent review of the literature offered the most up-to-date recommendations for clinical practitioners in radiology departments, including radiographers, to fight COVID-19.

Authored by academics at the Department of Radiography at City, University of London and partner institutions, the review summarises best-evidence for first-line methods used to diagnose the virus, and provides more-in depth guidance on how medical imaging technologies can be used to support diagnosis; on safety procedures to follow, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); and the nuances around the consensus on recommendations at national and international level.

The review echoes well-documented evidence suggesting that chest x-rays should be the first-line imaging tool to support a diagnosis of COVID-19 in patients. The review also suggests that more complex CT (computed tomography) imaging of the chest should be reserved only for critically ill patients with an unexplained deterioration in their condition.

Dr Christina Malamateniou, Postgraduate Programme director (taught and research) for Radiography, City, University of London, who led he work, said:

We are excited of working together to produce something our radiography colleagues can use to update themselves on current guidance of imaging techniques and safety regulations applied for Covid-19. It is clear radiography practice will have to adapt for sometime while providing high quality services to all patients and particularly to Covid-19 patients, in this critical time.

“This paper is now the most read publication in the history of the Journal Radiography, where it was published, hopefully signifying the importance of timely and high quality information for our Radiography colleagues working on the frontline.”

The review was published in the Journal of Radiography.

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