New Delhi: The Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) has rebutted All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria’s claims that a CT scan is equivalent to 300-400 x-rays and should be avoided for mild Covid-19 cases.
The IRIA called these claims “misleading”, saying it is “shocked and disappointed” by the senior doctor’s comments.
In a seven point rebuttal issued Wednesday, the IRIA argued that CT scans are an important component of Covid diagnosis as well as determining the severity of the disease.
Even though the RT-PCR test is the gold standard, the IRIA said CT scans help in cases where the test is “negative due to mutant variant, technical errors or low viral load”.
“CT Chest is helpful to stage the disease mild, moderate or severe, there by contributing significantly in management. More over the progression of the disease can be monitored by CT especially in patients who are deteriorating,” the statement said.
The IRIA said a CT scan is “far more sensitive than saturation monitoring by pulse oximetry in detecting lung damage”, and can help timely administration of steroids.
“Already hospitals are overburdened and with early administration of treatment, it might be possible to manage the patients at home. Earlier the treatment is started, easier it is to save a patient,” it said.
Guleria’s comments ‘retrograde’ and ‘alarming’
In a press briefing Tuesday, the AIIMS director had said, “One CT scan is equivalent to 300-400 chest x-rays. According to data, repeated CT scans in younger age groups increase the risk of cancer in later life. Exposing yourself to radiation, again and again, may cause damage. So, there is no point in doing a CT scan in mild COVID-19 if the oxygen saturation is normal.”
The IRIA has said his comments are “unscientific”, “alarming,” and “irresponsible”.
“This is a very retrograde and was the situation 30-40 years ago [sic]. The modern CT Scanners use ultra low dose CT which has radiation comparable to only 5-10 x-rays,” the IRIA said.
“Radiologists all over the world follow the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably achievable) and give the minimal radiation possible during the scan,” it said.
“Also the statement that CT Chest can cause Lung Cancer is alarming. The radiation dose from a single CT Chest is almost equivalent to the back ground radiation received by any person over a year,” the body said, adding, “(s)uch type of unscientific and irresponsible statements from such senior health authorities creates confusion among the public and hampers COVID 19 treatment”.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)