News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 09, 2020

AJR details how Singapore General Hospital responded to the SARS outbreak of 2003, including a thorough list of 43 ground operational considerations for imaging departments presently reacting to COVID-19

#COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #HIMSS20

Personal protective equipment (PPE) reminder notices placed on radiology angiography room doors to remind staff to don correct PPE before entering rooms. Image courtesy of American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

March 9, 2020 — An open-access American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) Collections article detailing how a tertiary hospital in Singapore responded to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) offers a thorough summary of ground operational considerations for radiology departments presently reacting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

Although imaging is not usually viewed as a frontline clinical service, lead author Lionel Tim-Ee Cheng reveals Singapore General Hospital's markedly different experience with SARS in 2003: "Portable imaging was extensively used, directly exposing radiology staff to the pathogen. Furthermore, radiology departments are places in which different patients (inpatient, outpatient, febrile, nonfebrile), accompanying persons, visitors, and health care workers from other departments potentially mix." Therefore, Cheng et al. continue, "any breach in infection prevention and control mechanisms in the radiology department has far-reaching consequences."

As per their institution's ongoing response to the novel COVID-19 pathogen, the authors of this AJR article identify three key areas of review (e.g., People, Places and Equipment, Processes and Policies), outlining multiple considerations for diagnostic radiologists, vascular and interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine and molecular imaging specialists, as well as radiographers and nursing units.


  • Ensure Rapid Sharing of Accurate and Useful Information
  • Ensure Infection Prevention and Control Knowledge and Practices Are Up to Date
  • Create New Hybrid Working Teams
  • Manage Emotions During Adversity

Places and Equipment:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Dedicated Scanners for Isolation and High-Risk Cases
  • Physical Security and Access Control
  • Decentralized or Alternate Working Areas
  • Portable Imaging Capability

Processes and Policies:

  • Review of Policies and Procedures
  • Isolation or High-Risk Cases
  • Modified Interventional Radiology Processes
  • Rapid Provision of Radiologic Results
  • Daily Routine Instructions

According to Cheng and colleagues: "If there is sustained community transmission from individuals without symptoms, our ability to detect cases and contain the spread will be limited. If COVID-19 becomes widespread globally with mainly mild disease and low mortality, it may become another respiratory tract pathogen that we have to live with while adopting sustainable universal precautions and waiting for a vaccine."

For more information:

Additional COVID-19 Resources for Clinicians:

World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 situation reports

World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus information page

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) COVID-19 information page

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 information page



The Cardiac Implications of Novel Coronavirus

CT Provides Best Diagnosis for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Radiology Lessons for Coronavirus From the SARS and MERS Epidemics

Deployment of Health IT in China’s Fight Against the COVID-19 Epidemic

Emerging Technologies Proving Value in Chinese Coronavirus Fight

Radiologists Describe Coronavirus CT Imaging Features

Coronavirus Update from the FDA

CT Imaging of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Pneumonia

CT Imaging Features of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Chest CT Findings of Patients Infected With Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Pneumonia 

Find more related clinical content Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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