ACR posts list of resources for coronavirus outbreak

By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer

March 17, 2020 -- The American College of Radiology (ACR) has posted a list of radiology-specific resources and recommendations for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic while protecting patients and healthcare providers.

"The resources ... are not intended to be -- nor offered as -- comprehensive medical guidelines, but may be of help as the radiological community works to protect patients and health care providers from this virus," the ACR said.

The recommendations and resources include the following:

Reschedule nonurgent care. The ACR supports guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that medical facilities should "reschedule nonurgent outpatient visits as necessary" ‑‑ including imaging and fluoroscopy procedures such as screening mammography, lung cancer screening, nonurgent CT, ultrasound, and plain x-ray. "Radiologists should work with their referring physicians to review and reschedule such exams," the ACR said.

Use CT and x-ray appropriately for suspected coronavirus infection. CT should not be used as a first-line diagnostic or screening tool to detect COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, the ACR said on March 11. "The CDC does not currently recommend chest x-ray or CT to diagnose COVID-19," it said in its statement. "Viral testing remains the only specific method of diagnosis. Confirmation with the viral test is required, even if radiologic findings are suggestive of COVID-19 on chest x-ray or CT."

Reduce risk of onsite infection. The ACR listed the following resources that address ways to reduce onsite coronavirus infection risk:

Reduce infection risk from breast imaging. The ACR offered some suggestions for reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission:

  • Social distancing of at least 6 ft between patients in waiting and imaging rooms
  • Vigorous cleaning and disinfecting of equipment; increased scheduling intervals to allow for adequate equipment cleaning
  • Thorough technologist and radiologist handwashing

Make use of additional resources. The ACR also offered the following resources to radiologists:

"The ACR will keep members informed regarding future relevant actions that the medical and radiological communities may take that could help protect patients and providers from the coronavirus," it said.

Copyright © 2020

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