Todd Villines, M.D., FACC, FAHA, MSCCT, explains some of the discussion on CT used for COVID-19 patients at the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) 2020 virtual meeting in July. He is the Julian Ruffin Beckwith Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Virginia; editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cardiovascular CT (JCCT), and SCCT past-president.
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic in China, CT emerged as a key imaging modality and was found to be able to detect COVID ground glass lesions in the lungs sometimes prior to positive genetic PCR test results. Supporters of CT say the modality offers a way to get detailed anatomical and functional information using a short exam time and limits the exposure of staff to potential or known COVID-19 positive patients.
One area where cardiac CT is seeing a lot of increased his is for the evaluation of thrombus in the left atrial appendage (LAA). This is traditionally done using trans esophageal echo (TEE), but it required very close contact with the patient and direct exposure of staff to bodily fluids and potential viral shed from the patient exhaling with each breath.
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VIDEO: CT and POCUS Emerge As Frontline Cardiac Imaging Modalities in COVID-19 Era — Interview with Geoffrey Rose, M.D.,