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Cureus ; 13(6): e15849, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1296199

ABSTRACT

Background and objective The ambiguous nature and high infectivity of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have caused soaring morbidity and mortality worldwide. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is preferred for detecting COVID-19. However, its poor sensitivity and the emerging use of high-resolution CT (HRCT) scan for disease severity make the use of RT-PCR quite obsolete. In light of this, our study aimed to explore the beneficial role of HRCT and compare the HRCT findings across various patient demographics and parameters. Methods This cross-sectional study included 100 patients with clinical suspicion of COVID-19. All patients underwent a chest HRCT scan preceded by RT-PCR testing. We used the CT severity score (CTSS) of the chest to calculate disease severity. Demographical data and results of radiological findings were tabulated and compared across RT-PCR positivity, age, and gender. Independent samples t-test and chi-square test were used to analyze the data. Results Glass ground opacity was the most prevalent finding in 99% of the patients, followed by lymph node involvement, consolidation, and crazy-paving pattern. Pleural effusion was observed in only 10% of the patients while pericardial effusion and hiatal hernia were present in 5%. In RT-PCR-positive patients, the posterior basal segment of the lower lobe of the right and left lungs were found to be dominantly involved; however, the upper and middle lobes of the right lung were more commonly involved than the left lung. The mean CTSS was significantly higher in patients aged above 50 years (p<0.001). The mean CTSS of RT-PCR-negative patients was higher than that of RT-PCR-positive patients (15.18 vs. 14.31, p=0.537). Conclusion RT-PCR has a limited role in the diagnosis of COVID-19. The HRCT scan can detect typical COVID-19 findings even in patients with negative RT-PCR results. Moreover, the use of HRCT scan in determining the disease severity and extent of lung damage can lead to a better assessment of critically ill patients.

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