Trump undergoes chest imaging after COVID-19 diagnosis

By Theresa Pablos, AuntMinnie staff writer

October 5, 2020 -- President Donald Trump reportedly underwent chest imaging while undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The president's physician said there were some "expected findings" but nothing of "major clinical concern."

During an October 4 press conference with the president's medical team, a reporter asked the president's physician Dr. Sean Conley about x-ray and CT findings, including whether there were signs of lung involvement or damage, according to a transcript of the press conference.

"REPORTER: And what do the x-rays, and CT scans show, are there signs of pneumonia, are there signs of lung involvement? Or any damage to the lungs?

CONLEY: Yes, so we're tracking all of that. There's some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern."

The answer didn't clarify whether the president's chest imaging appeared normal or if it showed hallmark signs of COVID-19, such ground-glass opacities on chest CT scans or radiographics. It's also possible imaging could have revealed pulmonary embolism or other findings that may or may not be related to COVID-19. The imaging was performed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The president was admitted to Walter Reed on Friday following a positive test for the novel coronavirus. Since that time, Conley has continually assured the public that the president is in relatively good health and spirits. In addition, President Trump announced on Twitter that he will be discharged and returning to the White House this afternoon.

But other sources from the White House have painted a different picture. On Saturday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that the president's vitals were very concerning. In addition, the president's care team at Walter Reed administered the steroid dexamethasone to treat a second episode of transient oxygen drops.

"We are trying to maximize everything that we could do for him, and we debated whether we'd even start it -- the dexamethasone," Conley said. "We decided that, in this case, the potential benefits early on [in] the course, probably outweighed any risks at this time."

Dexamethasone has been primarily used in patients with COVID-19 to combat cytokine storm syndrome, which can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiorgan failure. The effects of cytokine storm syndrome have also been seen in brain images from patients with COVID-19 and altered mental status.

The president's care team said they've been monitoring President Trump's cardiac, liver, and kidney function, which have "normal or improving findings," according to Dr. Sean Dooley, the president's pulmonary critical care physician. It is unclear whether the president has undergone any further imaging to look for cytokine storm syndrome effects or other potential COVID-19 complications.


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