Radiology and Medical Imaging have played a vital part in helping doctors detect the coronavirus (COVID-19) early, as well as helping researchers understand how the disease is spread. Find out more.
Medical Imaging Fights Against Coronavirus
Radiology examinations, especially thin slice chest CT scans, have helped doctors identify early phase infections in the lungs, which led to 14840 confirmed new cases reported on February 13, 2020. It was crucial to implement control measurements including early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and quarantine to block human-to-human transmission, and the amount of confirmed cases helped prompt governments from China and around the world to expand public health surveillance and response systems to the coronavirus.
The reason that radiology is so effective in helping identify COVID-19 is because the medical imaging of thin slice CT help to find signs of pneumonia that were unique to the coronavirus. For example, while people with the common cold will have normal imaging findings, the coronavirus will show multifocal patchy opacities in the lungs as such:
This has helped identify people who have contracted coronavirus even if they didn’t have symptoms such as fever or sore throat, as radiologists found that coronavirus is typically identified through medical imaging with bilateral ground-glass and consolidative pulmonary opacities.
The results are looking hopeful, with studies showing that medical imaging was able to identify coronavirus before some patients tested positive in laboratory tests, including the most common method of swab testing. As a result, China broadened its definition of confirmed cases to those who were clinically diagnosed through radiological lung imaging on February 13.
What further role do you think radiology will play in stopping the spread of the coronavirus? We would love to hear from you.
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