Chest CT and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assays for diagnosing COVID-19 (search done on 3 April 2020)

Added July 16, 2020

Citation: Kim H, Hong H, Yoon SH. Diagnostic performance of CT and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for coronavirus disease 2019: a meta-analysis. Radiology. 2020 Apr 17:201343.

What is this? Various methods have been suggested for the diagnosis of COVID-19, including chest computed tomography (CT) scans and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays.

In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors searched for studies on chest CT scans or RT-PCR assays as diagnostic tests for COVID-19. They restricted their search to articles published between 1 December 2019 and 16 March 2020 and did the search on 3 April 2020. They included 68 articles.

What was found: At the time of this review, the included studies showed that the positive predictive value (PPV) of RT-PCR assays was >10 times higher than that of chest CT scans in countries with a low prevalence (<10%) of COVID-19; and that chest CT scans and RT-PCR assays both had high negative predictive values (NPV).

At the time of this review, the included studies gave pooled sensitivity and specificity of chest CT scans for COVID-19 diagnosis of 94% and 37%, respectively.

At the time of this review, the included studies gave a pooled sensitivity of RT-PCR assays for COVID-19 diagnosis of 89%.


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