Is Repeated CT Scan To Diagnose The Covid Bad For the Health?

CT- Scan For COVID

The latest mutant of the Covid virus is not being detected in the PC-RTC test that is leading to the CT-Scan to detect the virus inside the lungs. Even with the mild symptoms, people are opting to the CT-Scans out of fear and that is causing a grave concern over the health of such people. There are various suggestions from the doctors about doing CT-Scan for Covid detection, But does it cause a serious consequence? Let’s take a look at this article.   

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr. Randeep Guleria on Monday in a presser advised people not to rush for CT-Scan if they are having mild symptoms of Covid19, since there are side-effects to it and risk of cancer. 

In view of the pandemic situation, people even with mild symptoms are rushing to get CT-Scan again and again, however, according to AIIMS Director, there is no advantage.

“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,” Guleria explained. 

“There is a lot of misuse of CT scans and biomarkers and this can cause damage. A lot of people are doing CTs the moment they test positive. There is no point in doing it for mild positive cases. There will be some patches even in some asymptomatic people and they go away without treatment. If you are in home isolation with mild illness and oxygen saturation is good, there is no point in doing a CT scan,” Dr Guleria said.

The AIIMS chief cited a study and said that both in mild and asymptomatic cases, a CT scan is likely to show patches that go away on their own without any treatment. He advised that CT scans can be done in moderate cases when hospitalized, adding that if people have a doubt, they should go for a chest x-ray.

While speaking about biomarkers used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition, Guleria said, “If one is COVID positive with mild symptoms then there is no need to go for blood tests, CPC or LDH as these will only create a panic reaction. These biomarkers are acute phase reactants which will increase with inflammation in your body.”

Guleria also explained that steroids need not be taken in a mild stage as it can lead to severe pneumonia which can spread to the lungs. “Some patients take steroids in the early part of the disease which increases viral replication. Taking high-dose steroids in mild cases may lead to severe viral pneumonia. Steroids should be taken in moderate stage and as advised by doctors,” he said.

A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging technique that gives a detailed image of the body for diagnostic purposes. The scans expose people to x-rays, and this so-called ionizing radiation can damage cells and lead to cancer down the road. Medical experts suggest that one should have only the scans that are necessary, and choose alternatives that don’t require radiation exposure when possible.

The dose of radiation received per diagnostic scan is measured in millisieverts (mSv). We are all exposed to some amount of natural radiation from the sun, from the earth, and even from some natural chemicals in our bodies. The average natural background radiation in the United States is 3.7 mSv per year. 

A simple chest x-ray (two views) exposes a person to an average of 0.01 mSv, or roughly the amount of radiation you get in a day from the natural background.

The more scans you have, the higher your lifetime exposure and therefore the higher your risk. The American College of Radiology recommends limiting lifetime diagnostic radiation exposure to 100 mSv. That is equal to 10,000 chest x-rays, or up to 25 chest CTs. The body regions where CT-related cancer is most likely to occur are the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, where faster-growing cells are more vulnerable to radiation. The lifetime risk posed by a single abdominal CT of 8 mSv is calculated to be 0.05%, or a one in 2,000 chance of developing cancer. 

If you have your CTs in middle age and later in life, it can take decades for the radiation exposure to end in cancer. In contrast, a child or young adult has a long enough lifespan ahead that the radiation from repeated CTs is more likely to lead to cancer. 

Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexelse…

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