ISSN: 1899-0967
Polish Journal of Radiology
Established by prof. Zygmunt Grudziński in 1926 Sun
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1/2022
vol. 87
 
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Chest radiology
abstract:
Original paper

The impact of COVID-19 on radiological findings in patients accessing the emergency department: a multicentric study

Vincenzo Vingiani
1, 2
,
Andres F. Abadia
3
,
Gianfranco Belmonte
4
,
Claudia Rutigliano
5
,
Luigi Pasqualetto
2
,
Alfonso Presidente
2
,
Claudio Napolitano
4
,
Maurizio Lelario
5
,
Antonio Corvino
6
,
Alessandro Posa
7

1.
Department of Radiology, Ospedale Centrale di Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
2.
U.O.C. Radiologia, P.O. Sorrento, Ospedali riuniti “Area penisola Sorrentina”, Sorrento, Italy
3.
Division of Cardiovascular Imaging, Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Medical University of South Carolina, USA
4.
U.O.C. Radiologia, Azienda ospedaliera regionale San Carlo, Potenza, Italy
5.
U.O.C. Radiologia, Ospedale “L. Bonomo” di Andria, Andria, Italy
6.
Department of Movement Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Naples, Italy
7.
Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Oncological Radiotherapy, and Haematology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli – IRCCS, Rome, Italy
© Pol J Radiol 2022; 87: e415-e420
Online publish date: 2022/07/27
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Introduction
The aim of this multicentric study is to illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown affected the workload and outcomes of radiological examinations in emergency radiology.

Material and methods
The exams performed in the radiology departments of 4 Italian hospitals during 3 weeks of the Italian lockdown were retrospectively reviewed and compared to the exams conducted during the same period in 2019. Only exams from the emergency department (ED) were included. Two radiologists from each hospital defined the cases as positive or negative findings, based on independent blind readings of the imaging studies. In the case of differences in the evaluation, consensus was reached amongst them via discussion. Continuous measurements are presented as median and interquartile range, while categorical measurements are presented as frequency and percentage; p-values were calculated using the t-test, Mann-Whitney test, and the χ2 test.

Results
There were 745 patients (53% male; 62 years [44-78]) who underwent radiological examinations in 2020 vs. 2623 (52% male; 56 years [35-76]) in 2019 (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the total number of ED exams dropped from 3206 (2019) to 939 (2020), with a relative increase of CT examinations from 23% to 33% (p < 0.001). The percentage of patients with a positive finding was significantly higher in 2020 (355, 48%) compared to 2019 (684, 26%) (p < 0.001).

Conclusions
Our findings show that despite the reduction of emergency radiological examinations, there was a rela­tive increase in the number of positive cases. These significant findings are crucial to ensure better organization of radiology departments and improve patient management during similar health emergencies in the future.

keywords:

COVID-19, emergency radiology, emergency department, image findings, epidemiology study




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