During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines have been issued by international, national and local authorities to address management and the need for preparedness. Children with COVID-19 differ from adults in that they are less often and less severely affected. Additional precautions required in the management of children address their increased radiosensitivity, need for accompanying carers, and methods for dealing with children in a mixed adult-paediatric institution. In this guidance document, our aim is to define a pragmatic strategy for imaging children with an emphasis on proven or suspected COVID-19 cases. Children suspected of COVID-19 should not be imaged routinely. Imaging should be performed only when expected to alter patient management, depending on symptoms, preexisting conditions and clinical evolution. In order to prevent disease transmission, it is important to manage the inpatient caseload effectively by triaging children and carers outside the hospital, re-scheduling nonurgent elective procedures and managing symptomatic children and carers as COVID-19 positive until proven otherwise. Within the imaging department one should consider conducting portable examinations with COVID-19 machines or arranging dedicated COVID-19 paediatric imaging sessions and performing routine nasopharyngeal swab testing before imaging under general anaesthesia. Finally, regular personal hygiene, appropriate usage of personal protective equipment, awareness of which procedures are considered aerosol generating and information on how to best disinfect imaging machinery after examinations should be highlighted to all staff members.
Keywords: COVID-19; Children; Coronavirus; Imaging protocol; Management; Radiology.