Stephen Bloom, M.D., FASNC, director of noninvasive cardiology (cardiac CT, nuclear cardiology and echocardiography) at Midwest Heart and Vascular Associates, Overland Park, Kansas. He is also a member of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) Board of Directors, explains some of the issues involved and protocols used for cardiac imaging during the COVID-19 pandemic. His discussion includes computed tomography, cardiac ultrasound and nuclear imaging.
Right now, Bloom said it is difficult to test everybody and there is a shortage of masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE), and the imaging equipment needs to be sanitized each time it is used. He said it is just is not possible to image all the patients who need imaging right now. Hospitals also are trying to limit the number of healthy people people coming into hospitals for routine visits and tests to reduce their potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) and help containment efforts.
"The tests should be done, very simply, if it changes the care of the patient. If it doesn't change the care of the patient, and it can be postponed, it should be postponed," Bloom explained. "I would say 80 percent of our cardiac imaging exams have stopped. It has been very dramatic."
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