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%.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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