New 4D scan helps doctors treat pulmonary symptoms of long COVID - 96.9 WINK FM

New 4D scan helps doctors treat pulmonary symptoms of long COVID


Ninety-seven million Americans have had COVID-19. For most of us, it’s a few days of aches, pains and fatigue, but some will become COVID-19 long-haulers, and the world’s first 4D scan is changing how doctors diagnose and treat long COVID.

Amy Dutrisac tells a familiar story.

“I had no energy, my lungs were aching, I had a horrible cough; it was scary,” Dutrisac said. “We realized that our family had come down with COVID.”

After a few days, Dutrisac’s daughter and husband started to feel better, but not Amy. She says she got increasingly worse. Eventually, she became one of the first to undergo a new FDA-cleared 4D scan of her lungs.

“It actually can measure air coming from, like, your upper lung on the right, lower lung on the right, upper and left lower lung,” said Ray Casciari, MD, a pulmonary specialist at Providence St. Joseph Hospital Orange in Orange, California.

The XV technology uses fluoroscopy, which is in all hospitals, but the new software algorithms convert the scans so that doctors can see defects caused by long covid.

Casciari color-coded the different parts of Amy Dutrisac’s lungs: The areas of poor ventilation were coded red, the areas of normal ventilation were coded green and the areas of increased ventilation were coded blue. The color coding allowed him to see immediately what other lung-imaging methods like chest X-rays and CT scans can’t show.

“The outside of her lung just wasn’t getting any air,” Casciari said.

Using information from the scan, Casciari knew which targeted therapies to use on Dutrisac. Now, she is breathing easier and is free of those lingering symptoms.

“It shed light where light needed to be shed,” Dutrisac said. “It’s worth it. It changed my life.”

Since the scan involves very little radiation exposure and the cost is relatively low, around $500 per scan, it can be repeated several times. Without being able to successfully treat long COVID, patients could face a lifetime of respiratory problems and even develop conditions like adult-onset asthma. This scan is also being used successfully to treat veterans who have burn pit injuries and patients with emphysema and asthma.


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