WHO publishes Rapid Advice Guide on chest imaging in COVID-19

Posted in Announces, COVID-19, Newsletter on Jun 12, 2020

WHO publishes Rapid Advice Guide on the use of chest imaging in COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a Rapid Advice Guide on the use of chest imaging in COVID-19. The guide provides health care professionals with recommendations on the appropriate use of different imaging modalities in COVID-19 cases to support diagnosis and patient management decisions, taking into account different settings around the world. The ISR provided scientific and technical assistance to support this important endeavor.

To support countries in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has developed this rapid, up-to-date guidance on the use of chest imaging in patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The document contains six recommendations on the use of chest imaging in acute care of adult patients with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19, including chest X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and lung ultrasound. It is intended as a practical guide for health professionals involved in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients with different levels of disease severity, from asymptomatic individuals to critically ill patients, from the time of presentation to a health facility to home discharge. The guide is also expected to promote quality and safety in the use of medical radiation to the benefit of patients and health care workers.

The recommendations were developed by a multidisciplinary group of experts and relevant stakeholders from all over the world in liaison with the Core Group, both under the chairmanship of Prof. Guy Frija. “Contributing to these guidelines on behalf of the ISR was a most rewarding experience for me. The professionalism WHO applied to a process that usually takes two years, including a rapid literature review, which was now performed within only two months, was impressive. I really enjoyed the intensive daily virtual interactions with the Core Group and the series of online meetings with the guideline development group, and would like to warmly thank everyone involved for their tireless efforts”, G. Frija, who is also Co-Chair of the ISR Quality and Safety Alliance and Chair of the ESR EuroSafe Imaging Steering Committee, said after this work intensive period.

Core Group member Dr. Ivana Blazic, who has been providing technical support to WHO in previous projects in her capacity as member of the ISR Communications Working Group, was the lead writer of the rapid advice guide under the overall guidance and leadership of Maria del Rosario Perez and Emilie Van Deventer, WHO Radiation and Health Unit.

The ISR as a non-state actor in official relations with WHO provided technical support for data collection on imaging practices in COVID-19 management to inform this guide. This included the development and dissemination of a survey, conducted jointly with the European Society Radiology (ESR), which showed considerable variations in imaging practices related to COVID-19 across the world. The ESR also provided virtual meeting assistance and rapporteur services. “Collaborating in this important endeavor has been a particular honor for the ISR, and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to WHO for the trust placed in our society. I am also very grateful to our colleagues from the ESR for their support and collaboration in the survey on COVID-19 practice, which provided important insight in the different situations created by the pandemic in radiology departments around the globe”, ISR President Luis Donoso said.

Due to the novelty of the coronavirus disease, evidence and data are continuously emerging. WHO will, therefore, closely monitor the development and consider an update of the rapid advice guide within the next six months.

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