The role of computed tomography in the management of patients with suspected COVID-19; A Nigerian study


Background: Computed tomography (CT) of the chest is a useful diagnostic adjunct in the management of COVID-19. It has proven useful in areas where ready access to real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is not readily available. Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the chest CT findings of patients suspected with having COVID-19 on presenting at the emergency room. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective study done in Cedarcrest Hospitals, Abuja, with patient information pooled from patients' electronic medical records from April to December 2020. Patients were selected based on suspicion of COVID-19 infection. Suspicion was stratified into high, moderate, and low using an in-house clinical suspicion score called the Cedarcrest Emergency COVID-19 Risk Assessment Tool. Patients with background pulmonary pathology or chest trauma were excluded. Plain chest CT scans were performed to evaluate for COVID-19 pneumonia. Results: CT imaging increased the clinical suspicion of COVID-19. However, no statistically significant relationship was found between the positive CT findings and the PCR results. Conclusion: Chest CT should be correlated with clinical findings and laboratory results for patient evaluation.



Chest, computed tomography, COVID-19, pneumonia