The utility of chest computed tomography (CT) and RT-PCR screening of asymptomatic patients for SARS-CoV-2 prior to semiurgent or urgent hospital procedures

Aditya S. Shah, Lara A. Walkoff, Ronald S. Kuzo, Matthew R. Callstrom, Michael J. Brown, Michael L. Kendrick, Bradly J. Narr, Elie Berbari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Presently, evidence guiding clinicians on the optimal approach to safely screen patients for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to a nonemergent hospital procedure is scarce. In this report, we describe our experience in screening for SARS-CoV-2 prior to semiurgent and urgent hospital procedures. Design: Retrospective case series. Setting: A single tertiary-care medical center. Participants: Our study cohort included patients ≥18 years of age who had semiurgent or urgent hospital procedures or surgeries. Methods: Overall, 625 patients were screened for SARS-CoV-2 using a combination of phone questionnaire (7 days prior to the anticipated procedure), RT-PCR and chest computed tomography (CT) between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020. Results: Of the 625 patients, 520 scans (83.2%) were interpreted as normal; 1 (0.16%) had typical features of COVID-19; 18 scans (2.88%) had indeterminate features of COVID-19; and 86 (13.76%) had atypical features of COVID-19. In total, 640 RT-PCRs were performed, with 1 positive result (0.15%) in a patient with a CT scan that yielded an atypical finding. Of the 18 patients with chest CTs categorized as indeterminate, 5 underwent repeat negative RT-PCR nasopharyngeal swab 1 week after their initial swab. Also, 1 patient with a chest CT categorized as typical had a follow-up repeat negative RT-PCR, indicating that the chest CT was likely a false positive. After surgery, none of the patients developed signs or symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 that would indicate the need for a repeated RT-PCR or CT scan. Conclusion: In our experience, chest CT scanning did not prove provide valuable information in detecting asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in our low-prevalence population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1375-1377
Number of pages3
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Volume41
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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