COVID-19 infection in the cancer population: a study of emergency department imaging utilization and findings

Derek Vos, Daniel A. Smith, Sooyoung Martin, Sree H. Tirumani, Nikhil H. Ramaiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To analyze emergency department (ED) computerized tomography (CT) utilization in cancer patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed to identify cancer patients who received COVID-19 diagnosis within the single healthcare system and presented to the ED within 30 days of COVID-19 positive date between May 1 and December 31, 2020. Results: In our 61 patients, the mean age was 72.5 years old, with 34% of patients (n = 21) on active cancer therapy and 66% (n = 40) on surveillance only. Most patients (n = 53) received their COVID-19 diagnosis within the ED, with 8 patients diagnosed prior to initial ED visit. The most common CT studies ordered within the ED were CT chest (n = 25), CT abdomen/pelvis (A/P) (n = 20), CT head (n = 8), and CT chest/abdomen/pelvis (C/A/P) (n = 7). COVID-19 findings were present on 33 scans, findings of worsening malignancy on 12 scans, and non-COVID non-cancer findings on 9 scans. Significant differences in CT severity score (p = 0.0001), indication for hospitalization (p = 0.026), length of hospitalization (p = 0.004), interventions (remdesivir, mechanical ventilation, and vasopressor support) while hospitalized (p < 0.05), and mortality (p = 0.042) were found between the prior diagnosis and ED diagnosis groups. No such differences were found between the active treatment and surveillance groups. Conclusion: ED CT imaging findings in patients with cancer and COVID-19 are predominantly related to COVID-19 infection, rather than cancer history or anti-cancer therapy status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1081
Number of pages9
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer imaging
  • COVID-19
  • CT severity score
  • Imaging utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'COVID-19 infection in the cancer population: a study of emergency department imaging utilization and findings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this