Table of contents:
CT scan turns out to be virtually useless in diagnosing COVID-19
In a new Chinese study, tomography did not help scientists distinguish between pneumonia in COVID-19 and pneumonia in influenza. CT signs of COVID pneumonia were found to be nonspecific.
Photo: CC0 Public Domain
In the early months of the spread of COVID-19, computed tomography (CT) was widely used in the diagnosis of this infection. It was thought to help distinguish coronavirus infection from other respiratory illnesses, including the flu.
A new study from China has shown that CT does not help distinguish pneumonia in COVID-19 from pneumonia in influenza. Even artificial intelligence did not help scientists in the differential diagnosis. Scientific work published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.
Scientists did not find a significant difference in CT manifestations of the two types of viral pneumonias (influenza and COVID-19), including the location of the lesions and the nature of such a well-known CT symptom as a "ground glass" seal.
CT-manifestation of viral pneumonia is associated with the pathogenesis of viral infection in the lungs. Therefore, pneumonias that are caused by different viruses can show very similar CT symptoms, the study authors point out.
The artificial intelligence algorithm, which was developed specifically for the study, also failed to detect a significant difference between chest CT scans of patients with influenza and COVID-19.
“CT has been credited with a special role in the early days of the spread of COVID-19. I believe this was due to the lack of access to reliable PCR tests. But the accumulated experience, taking into account the emergence of molecular diagnostics, has shown that the diagnostic role of CT is quite small. Especially considering that no specific CT changes were found in COVID-19 (as this study shows,”Robert Dickson of the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study, said in a comment to MedPage Today.
According to the current guidelines, patients with suspected COVID-19 should only be referred for CT if their condition worsens during hospitalization.