Optimization of CT scan practices can help achieve and maintain optimal radiation protection. The aim was to assess centering, scan length, and positioning of patients undergoing chest CT for suspected or known COVID-19 pneumonia and to investigate their effect on associated radiation doses.
With respective approvals from institutional review boards, we compiled CT imaging and radiation dose data from four hospitals belonging to four countries (Brazil, Iran, Italy, and USA) on 400 adult patients who underwent chest CT for suspected or known COVID-19 pneumonia between April 2020 and August 2020. We recorded patient demographics and volume CT dose index (CTDI) and dose length product (DLP). From thin-section CT images of each patient, we estimated the scan length and recorded the first and last vertebral bodies at the scan start and end locations. Patient mis-centering and arm position were recorded. Data were analyzed with analysis of variance (ANOVA).
The extent and frequency of patient mis-centering did not differ across the four CT facilities (>0.09). The frequency of patients scanned with arms by their side (11-40% relative to those with arms up) had greater mis-centering and higher CTDI and DLP at 2/4 facilities (p = 0.027-0.05). Despite lack of variations in effective diameters (p = 0.14), there were significantly variations in scan lengths, CTDI and DLP across the four facilities (p < 0.001).
Mis-centering, over-scanning, and arms by the side are frequent issues with use of chest CT in COVID-19 pneumonia and are associated with higher radiation doses.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.