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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging ; 48(13): 4318-4330, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1274812


AIM: As a follow-up to the international survey conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in April 2020, this survey aims to provide a situational snapshot of the COVID-19 impact on nuclear medicine services worldwide, 1 year later. The survey was designed to determine the impact of the pandemic at two specific time points: June and October 2020, and compare them to the previously collected data. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A web-based questionnaire, in the same format as the April 2020 survey was disseminated to nuclear medicine facilities worldwide. Survey data was collected using a secure software platform hosted by the IAEA; it was made available for 6 weeks, from November 23 to December 31, 2020. RESULTS: From 505 replies received from 96 countries, data was extracted from 355 questionnaires (of which 338 were fully completed). The responses came from centres across varying regions of the world and with heterogeneous income distributions. Regional differences and challenges across the world were identified and analysed. Globally, the volume of nuclear medicine procedures decreased by 73.3% in June 2020 and 56.9% in October 2020. Among the nuclear medicine procedures, oncological PET studies showed less of a decline in utilization compared to conventional nuclear medicine, particularly nuclear cardiology. The negative impact was also significantly less pronounced in high-income countries. A trend towards a gradual return to the pre-COVID-19 situation of the supply chains of radioisotopes, generators, and other essential materials was evident. CONCLUSION: The year 2020 has a significant decrease in nuclear medicine diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as a result of the pandemic-related challenges. In June, the global decline recorded in the survey was greater than in October when the situation began to show improvement. However, the total number of procedures remained below those recorded in April 2020 and fell to less than half of the volumes normally carried out pre-pandemic.

COVID-19 , Nuclear Medicine , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
Semin Nucl Med ; 52(1): 41-47, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275973


From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic we, the nuclear medicine (NM) community, expediently mobilized to enable continuity of essential services to the best of our abilities. For example, we effectuated adapted guidelines for NM standard operating procedures (SOPs) and enacted heightened infection protection measures for staff, patients, and the public, alike. Challenges in radionuclide supply chains were identified and often met. NM procedural volumes declined globally and underwent restoration of varying degrees, contingent upon local contexts. Serial surveys have gauged and chronicled such geographical variance of the impact of COVID-19 on NM service delivery and, though it may be too early to fully understand the long-term consequences of reduced NM services, overall, we can certainly expect that this era adversely affected the management of many patients afflicted with non-communicable diseases. Today we are unquestionably better prepared to face unforeseen outbreaks, but a degree of uncertainty lingers. Which lessons learned will endure in the form of permanent NM pandemic preparedness procedures and protocols? In this spirit, the present manuscript presents a revision of prior recommendations issued mid-pandemic to NM centers, some of which may become mainstays in NM service delivery and implementation. Discussed herein are (1) comparative worldwide survey results of the measurable impact of COVID-19 on the practice of nuclear medicine (2) the definitions of a pandemic and its phases (3) relevant, recently developed or updated guidelines specific to nuclear medicine (4) incidental findings of COVID-19 on hybrid nuclear medicine studies performed primarily for oncologic indications and (5) how pertinent pedagogical methods for medical education, research, and development have been re-invented in a suddenly more virtual world. NM professionals shall indefinitely adopt many of the measures implemented during this pandemic, to enable continuity of essential services while preventing the spread of the virus. Which ones? Practices must remain ready for possible new peaks or variants of the roiling COVID-19 contagion and for the emergence of potential new pathogens that may incite future outbreaks or pandemics. Communications technologies are here to stay and will continue to be used in a broad spectrum of applications, from telemedicine to education, but how best? NM departments must align synergistically with these trends, considering what adaptations to a more virtual professional environment should not only last but be further innovated. The paper aims to provide recent history, analysis, and a springboard for continued constructive dialogue. To best navigate the future, NM must continue to learn from this crisis and must continue to bring new questions, evidence, ideas, and warranted systematic updates to the figurative table.

COVID-19 , Nuclear Medicine , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging ; 48(1): 269-281, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695780


PURPOSE: The emergence of the novel SARS-CoV-2 pathogen and lethal COVID-19 disease pandemic poses major diagnostic challenges. The study aims to describe the spectrum and prevalence of thoracic and extrathoracic incidental findings in patients who have undergone 18F-FDG PET/CT during the first 3 weeks of the COVID-19 UK lockdown. METHODS: This is a single-centre retrospective controlled observational study. 18F-FDG PET/CT scans (n = 160) acquired from 23/3/2020 to 9/4/2020 were retrospectively reviewed for incidental findings in the lungs and extrapulmonary sites (heart, nasal sinuses, parotid and salivary glands, colon, large vessels, renal cortex, brain, spleen and testes). A date-matched control group (n = 205) of patients from 2019 was used for comparison. RESULTS: The total prevalence of suspicious findings was 26/160 (16.25%). Fifteen patients presented with incidental findings in the lungs, while eleven patients had only non-pulmonary incidental findings. There was a significant increase in the appearance of incidental 18F-FDG PET/CT findings during the 2nd week (OR = 3.8) and 3rd week (OR = 7.6) in relation to the 1st week. There was a significant increase in the average maximum standardised uptake values (SUVmax) in the parotid/salivary glands of patients scanned during week 2 in relation to week 1 (p = 0.036). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of incidental findings compared to the control group, but the number of pulmonary vs. extrathoracic findings was different between the two populations. CONCLUSION: The study provides a novel base of evidence to identify asymptomatic patients and those without symptoms strongly associated with COVID-19 with incidental 18F-FDG PET/CT findings suspicious of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the initial stages of the pandemic.

Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Incidental Findings , Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography/statistics & numerical data , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Female , Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Radiopharmaceuticals , United Kingdom