Radiology imaging management in an Italian cancer center (IRST IRCCS) during the COVID-19 pandemic

Alice Rossi, Andrea Prochowski Iamurri, Claudio Cerchione, Nicola Gentili, Valentina Danesi, Mattia Altini, Giovanni Paganelli, Domenico Barone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In Italy, the first case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was officially reported on 20.02.2020. The disease has since rapidly evolved, causing a public health emergency throughout the country but especially in our region, one of the most widely affected areas. We reorganized the daily routine of our cancer center to reduce the risk of contagion. A temporary tensile structure was set up as an entry-point triage, and a COVID-19 route was created with a dedicated CT scanner. A pre-access telephonic triage was performed the day before a patient was scheduled to come in for an examination. At the time of writing (May 4), 4053 patients had been to our center since the emergency officially began (9.03.2020) and the COVID-19 route had been activated for only 9 paucisymptomatic outpatients and 7 symptomatic inpatients. We also re-evaluated patient radiology examination lists and rescheduled non-urgent tests in consensus with the referring oncologist. Out of a total of 1438 patients scheduled for radiological examinations, 456 were postponed for a total volume reduction of 29.1%. Nine asymptomatic patients with typical CT findings of COVID-19 were identified during routine CTs, but none were RT-PCR-positive for SARS-CoV-2. We guaranteed all urgent and semi-urgent examinations, including those to stage newly diagnosed cancers and to evaluate response to treatment, ensuring the continuation of the diagnostic and therapeutic pathway of our patients. The measures we took were instrumental in keeping the institute COVID-19-free. We also describe the planned measures to resume normal clinical practice at the center.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129
JournalInsights into Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Health emergency
  • Imaging management
  • Radiology imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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