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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 117

The value of thoracic computed tomography scan comparing to reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction for the diagnosis of COVID-19

1 Department of Radiology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Isfahan Neurosciences Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
3 Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
4 Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
5 Applied Physiology Research Center, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Institute, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kimia Kazemi
No. 31, Zeitoon Alley, Nakhl Alley, Yahya Ave., Chaharbaghbala Street, Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jrms.JRMS_1187_20

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Background: Novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is the current pandemic causing massive morbidity and mortality worldwide. The gold standard diagnostic method in use is reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) which cannot be solely relied upon. Computed tomography (CT) scan is a method currently used for diagnosis of lung disease and can play a substantial role if proved helpful in COVID-19 diagnosis. We conducted this study to evaluate the diagnostic value of CT scan compared to RT-PCR in the diagnosis of COVID-19. Materials and Methods: We recruited 291 hospitalized patients suspicious of COVID-19 according to typical clinical findings during February–March 2020. The patients underwent CT-scan and RT-PCR procedures on the day of hospital admission. CT scans were reported by two radiologists as typical, indeterminate, negative, and atypical. Statistical indices were calculated twice: once considering “typical” and “indeterminate” categories as positive and the other time counting “typical” results as positive. Results: The CT reports were classified as typical (64.95%), indeterminate (10.31%), atypical (11%), and negative (13.75%). Considering “typical” and “intermediate” as positive, sensitivity and specificity were 85.3% and 38.8%, respectively, and using the second assumption, the mentioned indices were 75.9% and 50.4%, respectively. Conclusion: According to our study, CT results do not create enough diagnostic benefit and could result in incorrect confidence if negative. Since widely available, CT integration in the clinical process may be helpful in screening of suspected patients in epidemics. Yet, suspected patients should be isolated till confirmed by (multiple) PCRs.

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