The role of CT chest in patients presenting acutely and requiring an abdominal CT

26 June 2020

Recently published evidence suggests that the addition of chest CT in those patients presenting acutely and requiring abdominal CT has a very low diagnostic yield for features of unheralded COVID-19 pneumonia. There is also evidence that the impact of the results of this chest imaging on the acute surgical management of the patient is clinically insignificant.

We would therefore recommend that the routine use of additional CT chest in this clinical setting, together with the additional radiation dose this delivers to the patient, is not justified.


27 March 2020

The UK surgical Royal Colleges have produced advice and guidelines on COVID-19. The use of additional chest CT to assess for the presence of likely COVID-19 infection may have a role in stratifying risk in patients presenting acutely and requiring a CT abdomen, particularly those needing emergency surgery. In the absence of rapid access to other forms of COVID testing, this is appropriate if it will change the management of the patient. However, a negative scan would not exclude COVID-19 infection. As with all other advice at the moment, this may change. 

Please see additional RCR statements on the role of CT chest: