Cardiac Imaging Society Provides Insight on Use of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) in COVID-19 Patients

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The Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance offers clarification for the role of CMR in patients with prior COVID-19 infection

Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR)

...as we discover new facts about this virus almost on a daily basis, we remain committed to better understanding its underlying mechanisms and the impact it has on our patients. - Dr. James Carr, FSCMR, President of the SCMR

Last week, The Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR), a Society dedicated to improving cardiovascular health by advancing the field of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), released a formal statement supporting and explaining their position on the use of CMR in COVID-19 patients. The topic has led to debate among medical professionals, especially those in the cardiology specialty.

“We are living in very challenging times and as healthcare professionals, we find ourselves at the forefront of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said SCMR President Dr. James Carr, FSCMR. “The SCMR remains in constant contact with our members around the world sharing all relevant data and resources that could potentially help us better combat COVID-19 infection and its complications. More importantly, as we discover new facts about this virus almost on a daily basis, we remain committed to better understanding its underlying mechanisms and the impact it has on our patients.”

The official statement of the SCMR and its position related to the use of CMR as a screening tool in COVID-19 patients is as follows:

The current clinical indications for cardiovascular imaging in the evaluation of COVID-19 complications have been summarized in a recent American College of Cardiology guidance document, to which SCMR contributed. The indications for CMR in this context include accurate assessment of chamber size and function, detection of ischemia, myocardial infarction, myocarditis and stress cardiomyopathy. Referrals for imaging tests in the setting of COVID-19 should be guided by their potential impact on patient management. 

Recent small and single-center studies have suggested that CMR may detect abnormalities in asymptomatic patients who have had COVID-19 infection. This has led to a debate about the role of imaging, in particular CMR, as a screening tool. The clinical significance of these research findings remains uncertain and further long-term studies are needed to assess their impact. In accordance with the ACC guidance document and in view of the current limited evidence, SCMR does not support the routine use of any imaging tests, including CMR, in asymptomatic patients with a known history of COVID-19 infection.  

Several ongoing larger and multicenter studies will provide information on the mechanisms for development of cardiovascular complications in COVID-19 patients and the best way to detect them. SCMR will continue to review the emerging evidence and, in collaboration with other societies, provide updated guidance to the community on the appropriate use of cardiovascular imaging to improve outcomes for those affected by COVID-19.

For more information on about the SCMR including its COVID-19 Preparedness Toolkit, Case Collection and Registry, visit scmr.org.

About the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR)
The Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) is the recognized representative and advocate for physicians, scientists and technologists who work in the field of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). The SCMR is the principal international, independent organization committed to the further development of CMR through education, quality control, research, and training.

Membership has grown to over 3,000 - which includes cardiologists, radiologists, technologists, scientists, engineers and administrators from around the world.

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