AIIMS Director, Dr. Randeep Guleria warned against opting for CT scans in mild COVID-19 cases saying that it has more side effects than benefits. He confirmed the same at a press conference saying that CT scans and biomarkers are being misused and can be harmful as well.
He highlighted that several people are rushing to get a CT scan done the moment they are finding out they are COVID-19 positive. This misuse of equipment has rampantly increased amidst the pandemic.
“One CT scan is equivalent to 300 to 400 chest x-rays. According to data, repeated CT scans in younger age groups 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,” Guleria said.
A study has revealed that even in asymptomatic cases, a CT scan may show patches that heal without any treatment. He advised against CT scan unless someone is hospitalized adding that Chest X-ray is a safer option for mild patients if they are skeptical.
Advising against blood tests for biomarkers in mild patients, he stated that these aren’t required if the oxygen saturation is fine, fever is not high and there are no other symptoms. He cited that these can lead to the over-treatment of the virus.
Medicines are not required by patients who are in home isolation and their excessive dosage could lead to severe pneumonia. Steroids should be taken in moderate illness only and patients who are under home isolation due to mild illness do not require them.
Falling oxygen saturation (below 93), excessive fatigue, or chest pain are warning signs indicating that a patient in home isolation may need hospitalization. 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. Oxygen therapy, steroids and anticoagulants must be the main treatment strategy for a moderately infected person.