Mobile CT proves vital to China's efforts to combat COVID-19

2020 04 24 20 25 3757 Jin Zhengyu 400thumb

Mobile CT units located near temporary hospitals, combined with home working by radiologists and fast transmission of reports to patients' phones, have been critical elements of China's strategy to fight COVID-19, according to the president of the Chinese Society of Radiology (CSR).

"Mobile CT machines are at the front line," Prof. Zhengyu Jin told a webcast organized by Siemens Healthineers on 24 April. "New medical equipment and technologies are put into use to improve the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment in the battle against the novel coronavirus. The machines offer fast examinations for patients."

CSR president Prof. Zhengyu Jin. Image courtesy of Siemens Healthineers.CSR president Prof. Zhengyu Jin. Image courtesy of Siemens Healthineers.

Chest CT plays an essential role in the follow-up of COVID-19; however, overall, Jin expressed caution about the use of CT.

"Generally, the findings on chest imaging in COVID-19 are not specific and overlap with other infections," said Jin, who is director of the radiology department at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) in Beijing. "Knowledge of this new condition is rapidly evolving, and not all the published and publicly available information is complete or up to date."

CT should be used only when specific clinical indications exist. The National Health Commission does not currently recommend CT to diagnose COVID-19, and viral testing remains the only specific diagnostic method. He also emphasized the importance of infection control procedures before scanning subsequent patients.

Screening for COVID-19 at the first point of access to the hospital has also been important, Jin explained. Everyone entering the hospital has his or her temperature taken, and if it is more than 37.3° C, the patient goes straight to the "fever clinic." If the temperature is less than 37.3° C, the patient is still seen by a doctor, who must take a history.

The CSR has shared its knowledge and experiences in a series of publications, both in Chinese and English. Jin singled out "Progress and prospect on imaging diagnosis of COVID-19," published online by the Chinese Journal of Academic Radiology, the lead author of which was Dr. Li Fan. Jin is editor in chief of the journal.

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