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Explained: Researchers show how chest X-rays help in diagnosis of COVID-19

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New Delhi, Sep 10: In what comes as a new development, researchers have found that chest C-rays could help in rapid diagnosis of the novel coronavirus. Their findings are published in Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging.

Chest X-ray

Radiologists at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSU Health) New Orleans has conducted a retrospective study of nearly 400 persons under investigation for the novel pandemic in New Orleans. They reviewed the patients' chest X-rays along with concurrent RT-PCR virus tests.

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Using the coronavirus imaging patterns, they categorised each chest X-ray as characteristic, nonspecific, or negative in appearance for coronavirus.

According to the radiologists, a characteristic chest X-ray appearance is highly specific (96.6 per cent) and has a high positive predictive value of 83.3 per cent for SARS-CoV-2 infection in the setting of pandemic.

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"The presence of patchy and/or confluent, band-like ground glass opacity or consolidation in a peripheral and mid-to-lower lung zone distribution on a chest radiograph is highly suggestive of SARS-CoV-2 infection and should be used in conjunction with clinical judgment to make a diagnosis," says Bradley Spieler MD, Associate Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Vice Chairman of Research in the Department of Radiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.

"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," John-Paul Grenier, MD, an LSU Health New Orleans Radiology Resident added.

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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. The utility of this technique is described in the context of known disadvantages of RT-PCR, considered the gold standard in COVID-19 diagnosis, and Chest CT, which is currently not recommended for COVID-19 diagnosis.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines on the use of corticosteroids for the treatment of novel coronavirus. The results of meta-analysis that pooled data from eight randomised clinical trials, the WHO has made two recommendations that corticosteroid therapy be used for 7 to 10 days in patients with severe and critical COVID-19 and that it not be used in patients with non-severe COVID-19.

Corticosteroids are low-cost anti-inflammatory drugs that mimics cortisol, the hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands in humans. It can be seen that they are commonly used in treatment for rheumatological inflammatory conditions: inflammations of muscles, inflammation of blood vessels, chronic arthritis, and lupus.

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