Diagnostic Tools for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Comparing CT and RT-PCR Viral Nucleic Acid Testing.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

OBJECTIVE. Multiple studies suggest CT should be a primary diagnostic tool for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) because they reported sensitivities with CT far superior to that of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing. This review aimed to assess these reports and found chest CT to have a clinical utility that is limited, particularly for patients who show no symptoms and patients who are screened early in disease progression. CONCLUSION. CT has limited sensitivity for COVID-19 and a lower specificity than RT-PCR testing, and it carries a risk of exposing providers to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Chest CT should be considered a supplemental diagnostic tool, particularly for patients who show symptoms.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Waller, JV; Kaur, P; Tucker, A; Lin, KK; Diaz, MJ; Henry, TS; Hope, M

Published Date

  • October 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 215 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 834 - 838

PubMed ID

  • 32412790

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1546-3141

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2214/AJR.20.23418


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States