An online review in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR®) presents radiologists and departmental personnel with precautions for handling patients with known or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia.
The analysis by radiologist Soheil Kooraki, MD, and colleagues at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, also addresses how chest radiography is currently applied to assess the severity and progression of COVID-19. They stressed that radiologists should be aware of the manifestations of novel COVID-19-infected pneumonia (NCIP).
Though further investigations are ongoing, the authors believe imaging will continue to play a crucial role in NCIP patient management. They report the imaging features of NCIP in the lungs are highly nonspecific and are more often bilateral with subpleural and peripheral distribution ranging from ground-glass opacities in milder forms of NCIP to consolidations in more severe forms.
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As for safety precautions illustrated in the above JACR Visual Abstract, Kooraki and colleagues recommend the following actions to minimize contamination risks:
- Portable imaging equipment to limit patient transportation,
- For NCIP patients, fit-tested N95 masks or higher worn while entering and leaving the radiology department,
- For the medical staffs, fit-tested N95 masks or higher, eye protection with a face mask worn over goggles, disposable, fluid-resistant isolation gowns and disposable gloves with coverage over gown cuffs, and
- For the hospital environment, disinfection after contacts with COVID-19-suspected patients for the image-viewing station mouse and keyboard, CT and MR gantries and noninvasive ultrasound probes. Equipment vendors should be contacted to identify the safety disinfectant for each piece of equipment.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions posters in English, Spanish or Chinese can be downloaded to aid your educational efforts from the illustrations shown above or from acr.org.