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An Expert Tells Us Why A CT Scan Is Not A Replacement For RT PCR

An Expert Tells Us Why A CT Scan Is Not A Replacement For RT PCR

Two of my uncles, their wives, and their children developed COVID-19 symptoms a couple of weeks ago. They had fever, cough, and they ended up losing their sense of taste and smell. We were pretty sure that all of them would test positive for COVID-19. However, when they finally went for an RT PCR test, the results left us quite confused. Just one of them had tested positive (shockingly the asymptomatic one) and everyone else was negative even when they were showing symptoms. 

It was clearly a case of false negatives and thus, all of them decided to go for an HR CT scan instead. But the doctor advised them against it. Well, as it turns out, one of my cousins has health anxiety and this wasn’t the first time he was taking his family for a CT scan during the pandemic. Given that most of them were only mildly infected, the doctor asked them not to panic and prescribed them medication. The doctor warned them against unnecessary CT scans. 

Now, why would that be you ask? Well, the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus is currently the most common version in India. As per experts, the variant is more infectious than any other and happens to be elusive. It has mutated to the extent where it is sometimes not even reflected in the RTPCR tests. This has, of course, led to a lot of false negatives and thus leading people to other diagnosis options, HR CT scans being the most common of them all. However, experts are strictly warning people against it. We recently reached out to Dr. Pritam Moon, consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospital Mumbai to understand the science behind CT Scans and the possible harm that they can cause. Scroll down to read the details

What Is An HR CT Scan?

High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is a type of computed tomography (CT) scan with specific techniques that enhances the image resolution. To put it in simpler terms–this scanning technique is used to diagnose various health problems. The HR CT scans are being used after the COVID-19 diagnosis by healthcare professionals to assess the lung involvement and damage incurred by the patient. 


When Should We Go For An HR CT?

“Asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 patients do not need a CT scan. Patients who are moderately or severely ill will have to opt for a CT scan as suggested by the doctor to monitor their functioning of the lungs,” shares Dr. Moon. Generally, a healthcare expert recommends a CT Scan when the patient has pneumonia, breathlessness, lung disease, or other undiagnosed ailments that might be worsening their condition. 

Can Frequent CT Scans Lead To Possible Harm?

Doing repeated CT scans can be dangerous for the patients. “The CT scans and biomarkers will cause damage and possibly result in cancer in later life,” shares Dr. Moon. Do reach out to a mental health expert in case you have been experiencing health anxiety instead of repeatedly going for CT Scan or pushing your family or the same. 


Other Than CT Scan, Is There A Way To Know The Severity Of COVID-19?

Chest X-ray can be helpful in monitoring the lung involvement during COVID-19 infection.

Lastly, remember that you are not to go for a CT scan unless prescribed by the doctor. As shared by Dr. Moon, no good is going to come out of excessive CT scans. 

Featured Image: Unsplash

13 May 2021

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