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Chest Computed Tomography for the Diagnosis of Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Rapid Review and Meta-Analysis

By Meng Lv, Mengshu Wang, Nan Yang, Xufei Luo, Wei Li, Xin Chen, Yunlan Liu, Mengjuan Ren, Xianzhuo Zhang, Ling Wang, Yanfang Ma, Junqiang Lei, Toshio Fukuoka, Hyeong Sik Ahn, Myeong Soo Lee, Zhengxiu Luo, Yaolong Chen, Enmei Liu, Jinhui Tian, Xiaohui Wang

Posted 17 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.14.20064733

Background: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a massive impact on the whole world. Computed tomography (CT) has been widely used in the diagnosis of this novel pneumonia. This study aims to understand the role of CT for the diagnosis and the main imaging manifestations of patients with COVID-19. Methods: We conducted a rapid review and meta-analysis on studies about the use of chest CT for the diagnosis of COVID-19. We comprehensively searched databases and preprint servers on chest CT for patients with COVID-19 between 1 January 2020 and 31 March 2020. The primary outcome was the sensitivity of chest CT imaging. We also conducted subgroup analyses and evaluated the quality of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Results: A total of 104 studies with 5694 patients were included. Using RT-PCR results as reference, a meta-analysis based on 64 studies estimated the sensitivity of chest CT imaging in COVID-19 was 99% (95% CI, 0.97-1.00). If case reports were excluded, the sensitivity in case series was 96% (95% CI, 0.93-0.99). The sensitivity of CT scan in confirmed patients under 18 years old was only 66% (95% CI, 0.11-1.00). The most common imaging manifestation was ground-glass opacities (GGO) which was found in 75% (95% CI, 0.68-0.82) of the patients. The pooled probability of bilateral involvement was 84% (95% CI, 0.81-0.88). The most commonly involved lobes were the right lower lobe (84%, 95% CI, 0.78-0.90) and left lower lobe (81%, 95% CI, 0.74-0.87). The quality of evidence was low across all outcomes. Conclusions: In conclusion, this meta-analysis indicated that chest CT scan had a high sensitivity in diagnosis of patients with COVID-19. Therefore, CT can potentially be used to assist in the diagnosis of COVID-19.

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