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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 80-86
Does CT help in reducing RT-PCR false negative rate for COVID-19?

1 Department of Radiodiagnosis, Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, India
2 Department of Radiodiagnosis, LTMMC Sion Hospital, Mumbai, India
3 Sadbhav Diagnostics, Ahmedabad, India
4 Department of Radiodiagnosis, Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru, India
5 Ravi Imaging and Jupiter Hospital, Mumbai, India
6 Nivaran and Pulse Scan Centre, Mumbai, India
7 NM Medical Centre, Mumbai, India
8 Advance RadioImaging Centre, Ahmedabad, India
9 Pinnacle Imaging Centre, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Richa D Jain
Department of Radiodiagnosis, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijri.IJRI_739_20

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Background: Early detection is the key to contain the ongoing pandemic. The current gold standard to detect SARS CoV2 is RT-PCR. However, it has a high false negative rate and long turnaround time. Purpose: In view of the high sensitivity of CT in detection of lower respiratory tract pathologies, a study of 2581 patients comparing RT-PCR status with CT findings was undertaken to see if it augments the diagnostic performance. Materials and Methods: A multi centre prospective study of consecutive cases was conducted. All CT studies suggestive of COVID 19 pneumonia were collated and evaluated independently by three Radiologists to confirm the imaging diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia. The RT-PCR values were retrospectively obtained, based on the RT-PCR values, CT studies were categorised into three subgroups, positive, negative and unknown. CT features from all three groups were compared to evaluate any communality or discordance. Results: Out of the 2581 patients with positive CT findings for COVID pneumonia, 825 were females and 1,756 were males in a wide age group of 28-90 years. Predominant CT features observed in all the subgroups were Ground glass densities 94.8%, in mixed distribution (peripheral and central) (59.12%), posterior segments in 92% and multilobar involvement in 70.9%. The CT features across the three subgroups were statistically significant with a P value <0.001. Conclusion: There was a communality of CT findings regardless of RT-PCR status. In a pandemic setting ground glass densities in a subpleural, posterior and basal distribution are indicative of COVID 19. Thus CT chest in conjunction to RT PCR augments the diagnosis of COVID 19 pneumonia; utilization of CT chest may just be the missing link in closing this pandemic.

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