A comparison of COVID-19 and imaging radiation risk in clinical patient populations.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The outbreak of coronavirus SARS-COV2 affected more than 180 countries necessitating fast and accurate diagnostic tools. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been identified as a gold standard test with Chest CT and Chest Radiography showing promising results as well. However, radiological solutions have not been used extensively for the diagnosis of COVID-19 disease, partly due to radiation risk. This study aimed to provide quantitative comparison of imaging radiation risk versus COVID risk. The analysis was performed in terms of mortality rate per age group. COVID-19 mortality was extracted from epidemiological data across 299,  004 patients published by ISS-Integrated surveillance of COVID-19 in Italy. For radiological risk, the study considered 659 Chest CT performed in adult patients. Organ doses were estimated using a Monte Carlo method and then used to calculate Risk Index that was converted into an upper bound for related mortality rate following NCI-SEER data. COVID-19 mortality showed a rapid rise for ages >30 years old (min: 0.30%; max: 30.20%), whereas only four deaths were reported in the analysed patient cohort for ages <20 years old. The rates decreased for radiation risk across age groups. The median mortality rate across all ages for Chest-CT and Chest-Radiography were 0.007% (min: 0.005%; max: 0.011%) and 0.0003% (min: 0.0002%; max: 0.0004%), respectively. COVID-19, Chest Radiography, and Chest CT mortality rates showed different magnitudes and trends across age groups. In higher ages, the risk of COVID-19 far outweighs that of radiological exams. Based on risk comparison alone, Chest Radiography and CT for COVID-19 care is justified for patients older than 20 and 30 years old, respectively. Notwithstanding other aspects of diagnosis, the present results capture a component of risk consideration associated with the use of imaging for COVID. Once integrated with other diagnostic factors, they may help inform better management of the pandemic.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ria, F; Fu, W; Chalian, H; Abadi, E; Segars, PW; Fricks, R; Khoshpouri, P; Samei, E

Published Date

  • November 11, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 4

PubMed ID

  • 33027775

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1361-6498

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1088/1361-6498/abbf3b


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England