COVID-19 and Imaging: What Is the Role of Chest CT Scan in Diagnosing Coronavirus?

COVID-19 and Imaging: What Is the Role of Chest CT Scan in Diagnosing Coronavirus?

Jul 01, 2021

When you are experiencing some respiratory challenges during this period of a global pandemic, the first concern in your mind is whether or not you have the COVID-19 virus. Determining this for sure is not possible until you get tested. A formal diagnosis of COVID-19 dictates a laboratory test, which works with nose and throat samples. After your test, it is upon the presiding doctor to determine with certainty whether you need hospitalization or not.

Patients of COVID-19 need more assurance about how their health unfolds from the first day they detect COVID-like symptoms. Since the laboratory results take at least 24 hours before they are ready, you may need an HRCT chest scan. Medical experts are using these scans as a way to identify any traces of the COVID virus in your chest while you await your laboratory results.

What Is a Chest CT Scan?

A CT scan stands for Computed tomography (CT) scan. It is a digital test conducted to take images of your chest. The images produced will identify the different organs enclosed in your chest. The images are used for diagnostic reasons, allowing the doctor to identify any anomalies in your chest region. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, images of your chest from a CT scan near you can help determine whether or not you have the virus.

How Do CT Scans Work?

CT scans employ computers to convert the x-ray images, usually in 2D format, into a 3D format. The 3D images are more visually realistic than the 2D images, hence providing a comprehensive outlook on the internal organs of your body. When your chest CT scan report for covid-19 is analyzed, the radiographer together with your presiding doctor can come up with a conclusive diagnosis of whether you have the virus, and how advanced it is.

Based on studies conducted by medical experts, chest imaging for the diagnosis of covid-19 was most effective with chest CT scans than other imaging methods like x-rays and ultrasounds. After a chest CT scan in an emergency room in Baytown, TX, your doctor will be about 87 percent sure that you have the COVID virus in your respiratory system. However, for diagnostic accuracy, you would still need further tests to distinguish your condition from other causes of lung infection.

The Value of Chest CT as A COVID-19 Screening Tool

When you visit a 24-hour emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms, you will notice that it is a busy environment. With millions of cases to treat, certainty is important before you are hospitalized with this infection. The medical experts are employing different tests and methods to come up with conclusive results before you determine any treatment. The goal is to prevent misdiagnosis, reduce the number of hospitalized patients, and manage high-risk patients adequately. For these reasons, imaging for COVID-19 is an invaluable approach in this pandemic era.

CT scans and ultrasounds are being used a lot as imaging approaches to detecting infection in your lungs. The imaging tests are, however, not used exclusively. Instead, they are used alongside other methods to determine the correct diagnosis. Along with evaluating your symptoms, the presiding doctor will use results from the laboratory to determine which infection of the lungs you have.

As a screening tool, chest CT scans have especially proven useful for diagnosis among children and adults with no respiratory symptoms. The importance of CT scans for such patients is to determine whether they are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic carriers, who can put other healthy persons at risk of getting the infection. Other than that, CT scans are very crucial for all patients about to undergo surgery. Technically, the patients may be pre-symptomatic before surgery, then develop respiratory symptoms post-operation. This can lead to severe complications after surgery, threatening the health of the patients.

Summary

COVID-19 is still a novel virus that requires a lot of studies before there are conclusive reports about it. When it comes to treatment, proper diagnosis is vital, given that symptoms are different from one patient to another. In that case, chest CT scans and other imaging tests continue to be invaluable resources for screening this virus. While they may not be conclusive, their role cannot be overlooked or undermined in the fight against Coronavirus.

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