J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jul 21. doi: 10.2196/19673. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a serious infectious disease resulting in severe respiratory illness. This pandemic represents a serious public health risk. Therefore, early and accurate diagnosis is essential to control disease progression. Radiological examinations play a crucial role in early identification and management of infected patients.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify the diagnostic value of different imaging modalities used for diagnosis of COVID-19.
METHODS: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases. The keywords diagnostic imaging, radiology, respiratory infection, pneumonia, coronavirus infection and COVID-19 were used to identify radiology articles focusing on the diagnosis of COVID-19 and to determine the diagnostic value of various imaging modalities, including x-ray, computed tomography ultrasound, and nuclear medicine for identification and management of infected patients.
RESULTS: 50 articles were identified in the literature search. Studies that investigated the diagnostic role and imaging features of patients with COVID-19, using either chest CT, lung ultrasound, chest x-ray, or PET/CT scan, were discussed. Of these imaging modalities, chest x-ray and CT scan are commonly used for diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients, with chest CT scan being more accurate and sensitive in identifying COVID-19 at early stages. Only a few studies have investigated the role of ultrasound and PET/CT scan in diagnosing COVID-19.
CONCLUSIONS: Chest CT scan remains the most sensitive imaging modality in initial diagnosis and management of suspected and confirmed patients with COVID-19. Other diagnostic imaging modalities could add value in evaluating disease progression and monitoring of critically ill COVID-19 patients.