The diagnostic value of chest X-ray in coronavirus disease 2019: A comparative study of X-ray and CT

Link to article at PubMed

Sci Prog. 2021 Jul-Sep;104(3):368504211016204. doi: 10.1177/00368504211016204.


As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic spreads around the world, the demand for imaging examinations increases accordingly. The value of conventional chest radiography (CCR) remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of CCR in the detection of COVID-19 through a comparative analysis of CCR and CT. This study included 49 patients with 52 CT images and chest radiographs of pathogen-confirmed COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-suspected cases that were found to be negative (non-COVID-19). The performance of CCR in detecting COVID-19 was compared to CT imaging. The major signatures that allowed for differentiation between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases were also evaluated. Approximately 75% (39/52) of images had positive findings on the chest x-ray examinations, while 80.7% (42/52) had positive chest CT scans. The COVID-19 group accounted for 88.4% (23/26) of positive chest X-ray examinations and 96.1% (25/26) of positive chest CT scans. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of CCR for abnormal shadows were 88%, 80%, and 87%, respectively, for all patients. For the COVID-19 group, the accuracy of CCR was 92%. The primary signature on CCR was flocculent shadows in both groups. The shadows were primarily in the bi-pulmonary, which was significantly different from non-COVID-19 patients (p = 0.008). The major CT finding of COVID-19 patients was ground-glass opacities in both lungs, while in non-COVID-19 patients, consolidations combined with ground-glass opacities were more common in one lung than both lungs (p = 0.0001). CCR showed excellent performance in detecting abnormal shadows in patients with confirmed COVID-19. However, it has limited value in differentiating COVID-19 patients from non-COVID-19 patients. Through the typical epidemiological history, laboratory examinations, and clinical symptoms, combined with the distributive characteristics of shadows, CCR may be useful to identify patients with possible COVID-19. This will allow for the rapid identification and quarantine of patients.

PMID:34424791 | DOI:10.1177/00368504211016204

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