Inpatient imaging volumes down during COVID-19 pandemic

(HealthDay)—During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a decrease in inpatient imaging volumes, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Jason J. Naidich, M.D., from Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, and colleagues compared weekly inpatient imaging volumes (radiography, computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], ultrasound, interventional radiology, nuclear medicine) in a large health care system in 2019 and 2020. Additionally, 2020 volumes were compared pre-COVID-19 (weeks one to nine) and post-COVID-19 (early: weeks 10 to 13; late: weeks 14 to 16).

The researchers found that compared with 2019, total inpatient imaging volume in the early post-COVID-19 period declined by 16.6 percent; volume declined by 9.6 percent in the late post-COVID-19 period. Inpatient imaging volume rebounded by week 16 and was only down 4.2 percent. The 2020 imaging composition mix significantly shifted, compared to 2019 (P < 0.0001) and largely comprised of radiography (74.3 percent), followed by CT (12.7 percent), ultrasound (8 percent), MRI (2.4 percent), interventional radiology (2.3 percent), and nuclear medicine (0.4 percent). While most imaging studies declined in the late post-COVID-19 period, a few Current Procedural Terminology-coded groups showed increased volumes, including CT angiography chest, radiography chest, and ultrasound venous duplex.

“These data may be useful to radiology practices in preparing for the possibility of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors write.

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