Using Telemedicine to get an order for a CT scan to screen for Coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia.
The spread of novel Coronavirus (COVD-19) in the United States is now considered, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to be nearly inevitable. Diagnostic imaging facilities are actively implementing policies and procedures to handle the influx of patients.
Part of combating the spread of COVID-19 is preparing for the amount of CT scans that will be ordered. CT scans of the chest without contrast are recommended as the primary screening tool as it identifies potential virus cases faster than any other method. Recent data published in Radiology showed CT was more sensitive than gene sequencing for making the diagnosis of COVID-19. The article also described the CT findings in COVID-19 infection.
Pneumonia is usually the initial diagnosis, and imaging findings are largely bilateral with subpleural and peripheral distribution, ranging from ground-glass opacities in milder forms to consolidation in severe cases.
Scans show patients' lungs are being filled with sticky mucus that prevents them from inhaling as there is no space for the air.
CT imaging findings include:
- Bilateral and peripheral ground-glass and consolidative pulmonary opacities
- Worsening findings with a longer time after the onset of symptoms.
- Absence of pleural effusion and lymphadenopathy
Due to increased mitigation and containment measures taking place across the nation, many patients are resorting to virtual care via telemedicine. At Cirrus Medical Network, we have years of experience facilitating imaging referrals for MRI’s, CT scans, Ultrasounds, and X-Rays. Our physicians screen patients and order imaging if clinically indicated. Screening for COVID-19 related pneumonia is a service that we can provide by eliminating a trip to your doctor’s office, urgent care, ER, health department, or hospital.
It is also important to note that imaging facilities have taken protective steps for personnel and patients. Imaging facilities may follow guidance per the American College of Radiology describing safety steps for imaging patients with suspected Coronavirus infection. COVID-19 is believed to transmit via respiratory droplets, but it’s currently unknown whether it can also be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface. Consequently, the guideline recommends facilities follow both respiratory and surface contamination protocols.
Specific suggestions for imaging centers include:
- Radiology departments should implement training and protection programs.
- Ideally, patients with known or suspected COVID-19 should be imaged in a satellite radiography facility on dedicated radiography equipment to prevent the spread of infection
- Suspected patients, including patients with fever or upper respiratory symptoms, should first contact the imaging center prior to undergoing imaging at outpatient centers.
- If no satellite radiography facility exists:
- Patients should wear surgical masks
- Radiology staff should exercise droplet precautions including disposable isolation gowns, disposable gloves, eye protection, and face masks.
The situation and information coming from the authorities are still in flux. For now, know that Cirrus Medical Network is equipped to facilitate referrals for CT scans and other diagnostic imaging tests for patients in need during these tenuous times.
To sign up for an online doctor and get CT scan referral, click here: Request a CT scan order online