Enterprise imaging firm releasing tool to help radiologists manage vaccine side effects on mammograms

Automated imaging workflow company medQ is rolling out new software to help radiologists manage potential vaccine-related side effects during routine mammogram exams, the firm announced Tuesday.

Imaging providers have been increasingly reporting cases of lymph node swelling in patients who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. What started as a side effect seen during breast exams, has since extended to nearly all imaging and may fool some doctors into diagnosing cancer.

As a response to this growing problem, the Plano, Texas, vendor came up with an enhancement to its existing Q/ris 3000 Enterprise Imaging Workflows. The add-on notifies scheduling and front desk staff if a patient has been vaccinated and alerts rads of potential false-positive lymph node issues.

Essentially, the software consists of added screening questions regarding patients’ vaccination status and pop-ups during the mammography scheduling and check-in process.

"The potential for false-positives presents an issue for both imaging centers and patients." Chief Executive of MedQ John Norman said in a statement. "Aside from preventing needless worry, timely alerts like these can help imaging centers avoid canceling exams last-minute and help prevent patients from having to schedule additional costly procedures to verify false-positives."

Experts have been warning imaging providers to stay cognizant of axillary adenopathy in patients who have received one or both doses of the vaccine. First and foremost, organizations should add a patient’s vaccine history to their intake forms, including which arm it was administered in.

For most clinical situations, swollen lymph nodes on one side of the body up to six weeks post-vaccination should be considered benign, requiring clinical follow-up rather than further imaging or biopsy, according to Massachusetts General Hospital physicians.

Radiologists should adapt guidelines to best fit their patient population and specific practice, while always communicating care plans with patients and providers, the Boston researchers explained.