To improve radiologists' understanding of COVID-19 pneumonia, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has issued an expert consensus statement on reporting chest CT findings related to the new coronavirus disease.
The statement, published online in the journal Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging, is endorsed by the RSNA, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Thoracic Radiology.
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The guidance on COVID-19 reporting includes standardised language to reduce reporting variability. Such structured reporting will improve communication with referring providers and has the potential to enhance efficiency and reduce anxiety in management of patients during the pandemic.
The consensus statement, developed by experts at nine U.S. academic medical centres, discusses the potential role of CT in COVID-19. Routine screening CT for the identification of COVID-19 pneumonia, as noted by the RSNA, is currently not recommended by most radiology societies. Still, the number of CTs performed in patients under investigation for COVID-19 has increased.
Some patients may have incidentally detected findings that could be attributable to COVID-19 pneumonia, requiring radiologists to decide whether to mention COVID-19 specifically as a differential diagnostic possibility, according to the RSNA.
“We believe it is important to provide radiologists and referring providers guidance and confidence in reporting these findings and a more consistent framework to improve clarity,” said Suhny Abbara MD, editor of Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging and professor of radiology and chief of the Cardiothoracic Imaging Division at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
He went on to say that clear evidence-based communication among healthcare providers, including radiologists, is important to improve patient care during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Recognising that practice patterns may vary by institution, the RSNA emphasised that the consensus statement is meant to serve as a guide. The authors recommend that radiologists consult with clinical colleagues at their institutions to establish a consensus reporting approach.
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Reference Simpson S,
Kay FU et al. (2020) Radiological Society of North America Expert Consensus
Statement on Reporting Chest CT Findings Related to COVID-19. Radiology:
Cardiothoracic Imaging 2(2). Published online 25 March.