The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director, Dr Randeep Guleria, made headlines when he cautioned about using CT-Scan for mild COVID-19 patients and claimed that a CT scan is equivalent to 300-400 x-rays. Now, the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) has refuted Dr Guleria's claims. It expressed disappointment on the senior doctor's comments and termed the remarks as "unscientific" and "irresponsible".
The IRIA, in a seven-point letter on Wednesday, argued that CT scans are very much needed for COVID-19 diagnosis and determine the severity of the disease.
IRIA said RT-PCR tests are still the best, but considering the new mutant variant in which many patients got false negative reports, technical errors or lower severity of the virus, CT scans are necessary, reported The Print
"CT Chest is helpful to stage the disease mild, moderate or severe, thereby contributing significantly in management. Moreover, the progression of the disease can be monitored by CT, especially in patients who are deteriorating," the statement said.
The IRIA said that a CT scan not only reveals if the patient has COVID-19 but also detects lung damage, which is crucial in critical COVID-19 patients. "Hospitals are overburdened, and with early administration of treatment, it might be possible to manage several patients at home," the statement said. "It is easier to save patients if the treatment is started at an early stage," it added.
The statement comes two days after Dr Guleria's press briefing on Tuesday, where he claimed that "one CT scan is equivalent to 300-400 chest x-rays". He also said that repeated CT scans at a young age 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," Dr Guleria had said.
The IRAI said that what Dr Guleria was referring to is a thing of the past, and modern computerised tomography scanners (CT Scan) use an ultra-low dose of CT, which has radiation comparable to only 5-10 x-rays.
"Also, the statement that CT Chest can cause Lung Cancer is alarming. The radiation dose from a single CT Chest is almost equivalent to the background radiation received by any person over a year," the body said.