Chest x-rays could speed up COVID-19 testing, LSU radiologists say

Chest x-rays could speed up COVID-19 testing, LSU radiologists say
Chest xray

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A team of radiologists at LSU Health New Orleans believes chest x-rays could aid in the rapid diagnosis of COVID-19.

The hospital said the discovery could especially help in areas with limited testing capacity.

“In mid to late March of this year, when COVID-19 cases were spiking in New Orleans, we recognized an unusual pattern on chest x-rays that seemed to correlate with COVID positivity,” notes David Smith, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.

The radiologists conducted a study of 400 people suspected of having COVID-19 in New Orleans.

The radiologists found a characteristic chest x-ray appearance is highly specific (96.6%) and

has a high positive predictive value of 83.8% for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“The chest radiograph, while low in sensitivity, can indicate COVID-19 in patients whose radiographs exhibit characteristic COVID-19 findings, when used in concert with clinical factors,” adds John-Paul Grenier, MD, an LSU Health New Orleans Radiology Resident. “While not a substitute for RT-PCR virus tests or Chest CT, radiographs could provide a rapid, cost-effective diagnosis of COVID-19 in a subset of infected patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

They believe the discovery will help aid in diagnosis during the spread of COVID-19.

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