NOV 30, 2022 10:00 AM PST

New CT Technology Detects More COVID-related Lung Damage Than Conventional CT

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Now that COVID-19 has been around for some time, researchers have slowly begun to identify the myriad ways in which infection affects different aspects of a person’s health. One of the more common consequences, particularly in people who have ongoing symptoms of COVID-19, is lung damage. Currently, researchers use technology like CT scans to examine a COVID patient’s lungs, looking for signs of damage with the hope of intervening early before too much lung damage has occurred.

A new study conducted by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna and the UMass Memorial Medical Center recently conducted a study exploring photon-counting detector (PCD) CT scans in people with persistent COVID-190 symptoms. Their results suggest that there’s a lot of lung damage and abnormalities that traditional CT scans might be missing, impacting patient outcomes. The study is published in a recent article in Radiology.

PCD-CT has become increasingly popular in recent years as a more effective imaging technique compared to traditional CT technology. PCD CT technology effectively cuts out a middle step that CT technology relies on: converting x-ray photons to electric signals with the use of a photodiode. As a result, PCD CT technology uses less energy, and there is less loss of signal, producing better images.

During the study, researchers followed 20 adults who reported persistent COVID-19 symptoms, which could include symptoms like cough or fatigue. The research team performed traditional CT scans and PCD CT scans on each participant. In general, traditional CT was able to detect certain lung abnormalities in about 75% of participants. However, PCD CT detected lung damage that the traditional CT did not detect in about half of these patients. For example, PCD CT detected bronchiectasis, which was not detected on traditional CT.

In addition to its ability to detect more subtle lung damage, PCD CT also uses less radiation, a benefit to patients.

Ultimately, researchers hope their technology could allow for the timelier detection of these subtle types of lung damage that might get missed by traditional CT, leading to better treatment and patient outcomes. In the meantime, we can still follow the most commonly suggested prevention method for COVID-19 in the first place, which is wearing a protective mask, such as the one sold by Mask 4 Layers.

Sources: Eurekalert!; Radiology

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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