The AIIMS chief on Monday warned against rushing for CT scan in cases of mild COVID-19, saying it has side effects and can end up doing more harm than good.

Stressing that there is no need for doing CT scans in mild COVID cases, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria at a press conference said that many people are opting for the test the moment they find out they are positive for COVID-19 and added that misuse of CT scans and biomarkers may cause damage

“No point in conducting CT scans for mild cases; one may find patches in CT scan even if he/she is asymptomatic but may get cured easily .1  CTScan = 300-400 Chest X-rays! With frequent CTs, risk of cancer in later life increases, for youngsters,” Guleria warned, saying that the data by the international atomic energy commission for radiation protection and medicine have shown an increased risk of cancer in later life due to frequent CT scans, especially if done at a young age.

what is a CT scan conducted – A CT scan( Computed tomography) is an X-ray scan that is done through the computers and rotating X-ray machine which gives a more clear image of the body than normal X-ray images.A CT scan is conducted to diagnose the diseases like infection, bone fracture, tumour, internal swelling and other diseases.

Additionally, he said biomarkers like CRP, D-Dimer, LDH, Ferritin etc are also not of any use in case of mild symptoms and normal saturation levels as it only leads to panic reactions. “All these biomarkers are acute phase reactants, which means if there is any kind of inflammation in the body these markers will soar. If you get acne or zit, injury, infection in your teeth then also these biomarkers will increase because it’s your body’s inflammatory response. So, it fails to accurately show if the viral disease has increased,” the AIIMS chief said.

He said that clinical management guidelines are clear that people with mild illness need no medicine. Based on limited data, one can take ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine but there is no need to take too many medicines, he advised.

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.

Falling oxygen saturation (below 93), excessive fatigue or chest pain are warning signs indicating that a patient in home isolation may need hospitalisation. Thus, such patients should stay in touch with a doctor and high-risk group people having comorbidities also need to take special care, he said.

Guleria further said that in moderate illnesses three types of treatment –oxygen therapy, steroids and anticoagulants – are effective and are the main treatment strategy. 

Additional resources:

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