<i>Radiology</i> editorial board highlights top research papers of 2020

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Radiology editorial board highlights top research papers of 2020

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 10, 2020
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Dr. Mark Schiebler presenting
at the session
While the main topic on everyone's mind these days, COVID-19 does not erase the other issues medical professionals face.

“Certainly, this last year was dominated by new imaging research regarding COVID-19, yet our research community has been as productive as ever in other areas,” said Dr. David A. Bluemke, editor of Radiology, at this year’s RSNA virtual meeting in a session, titled Review of 2020: New Research That Should Impact Your Practice.

In this talk, members of Radiology’s editorial board highlighted the “most impactful” research papers from the past year. Papers spanned the fields of neuroimaging, abdomen/pelvic imaging and chest imaging.

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Study: Correlation of Chest CT and RT-PCR Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China

A study investigating the connection between chest CT and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in 1,014 COVID cases in China has already been cited 2,147 times, and is the most downloaded paper in Radiology this year.

The research team found that RT-PCR assay, which was developed to rapidly detect COVID, and chest CT were positive in nearly 60% of the patients (601 of 1,014 patients). In the RT-PCR positivity group, chest CT sensitivity for COVID-19 was 97% (580 of 601 patients). It also found that 308 patients had a negative RT-PCR assay and positive CT scans. Of those patients 147 were considered “highly likely” to have COVID and 103 were “clinically probable.”

In addition, among a small subgroup of 57 patients, 60% had a positive CT scan consistent with COVID-19 before the initial positive RT-PCR results, and 42% showed improvement on follow-up chest CT scans before the RT-PCR results turned negative.

“Chest CT can play an important role in the care of patients with respiratory illness during this pandemic,” said Dr. Mark Schiebler, professor of radiology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “However, we need to be cognizant of the fact that the use of imaging needs to be individualized to the needs of the patient and the availability of medical care.”

Study: Brain MR Findings in Patients in the Intensive Care Unit with COVID-19 Infection

Since a third or more of COVID patients develop neurologic symptoms, researchers at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics decided to study brain MR findings in ICU patients with the infection. The study included 749 such patients that were admitted to eight hospitals from March 1 to April 18. Of them, 50 developed neurologic symptoms and 27 underwent brain MR exams. Ten showed abnormalities in MR signal intensity in the brain and two had vascular abnormalities.

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