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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