PURPOSE: To understand how COVID-19 pandemic has changed radiology research in Italy.
METHODS: A questionnaire (n = 19 questions) was sent to all members of the Italian Society of Radiology two months after the first Italian national lockdown was lifted.
RESULTS: A total of 327 Italian radiologists took part in the survey (mean age: 49 ± 12 years). After national lockdown, the working-flow came back to normal in the vast majority of cases (285/327, 87.2%). Participants reported that a total of 462 radiological trials were recruiting patients at their institutions prior to COVID-19 outbreak, of which 332 (71.9%) were stopped during the emergency. On the other hand, 252 radiological trials have been started during the pandemic, of which 156 were non-COVID-19 trials (61.9%) and 96 were focused on COVID-19 patients (38.2%). The majority of radiologists surveyed (61.5%) do not conduct research. Of the radiologists who carried on research activities, participants reported a significant increase of the number of hours per week spent for research purposes during national lockdown (mean 4.5 ± 8.9 h during lockdown vs. 3.3 ± 6.8 h before lockdown; p = .046), followed by a significant drop after the lockdown was lifted (3.2 ± 6.5 h per week, p = .035). During national lockdown, 15.6% of participants started new review articles and completed old papers, 14.1% completed old works, and 8.9% started new review articles. Ninety-six surveyed radiologists (29.3%) declared to have submitted at least one article during COVID-19 emergency.
CONCLUSION: This study shows the need to support radiology research in challenging scenarios like COVID-19 emergency.