COVID long-distance drivers: New lung scan technology helps diagnose and treat patients with persistent symptoms

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) — An estimated 100 million Americans have had COVID-19.

For most, especially those who have been vaccinated, the illness means a few days of aches, pains and fatigue.

But for some, the symptoms just don’t go away.

They are called COVID long haulers.

And now, new scanning technology is helping doctors diagnose and treat patients with long-standing COVID.

Amy Dutrisac is one of those long distance COVID riders who has benefited from the new technology.

She and her family all contracted COVID. But her daughter and husband began to feel better within days.

Not Amy.

“I had no energy,” she says. “My lungs hurt, I had a terrible cough. It was scary.”

Amy was one of the first to undergo a new FDA approval four-dimensional scan of her lungs. It’s called four-dimensional because it adds the element of time and shows how the lungs move as the patient breathes. It also offers a number of other advanced diagnostic data.

“It can actually measure air coming out of your upper right lung, lower right lung, upper lung and left lower lung,” said Dr. Ray Casciari, a lung specialist at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.

That XV technology uses fluoroscopy, which is available in most hospitals, but the new software algorithms convert the scans so doctors can see defects caused by long-COVID.

With the diagnostic help of the advanced scans, Dutrisac was successfully treated.

She is now breathing easily and is free of all her symptoms.

“I honestly don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t had the scan,” she said.

Because there is very little radiation and the cost is relatively low — about $500 per scan — the scan can be repeated multiple times.

Patients who are not successfully treated for COVID for a long time could experience lifelong respiratory problems and even the development of conditions such as asthma in adulthood.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. COVID long-distance drivers: New lung scan technology helps diagnose and treat patients with persistent symptoms

Laura Coffey

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