A normal chest CT scan cannot exclude the diagnosis of COVID-19 especially for patients with recent onset of symptoms. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the final diagnosis of COVID-19 infection should be confirmed by a positive RT-PCR test. This is the reference standard. The Canadian Society of Thoracic Radiology (CSTR)/Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) recommend against the use of routine chest CT for screening, diagnosis and surveillance of COVID-19 infection. The CSTR/CAR recommend chest CT in patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection who may have developed complications such as a lung abscess or empyema.
Dr. Carole Dennie, President of the CSTR and radiologist at the Ottawa Hospital, has created a video in relation to COVID-19 which can be found on car.ca and RAD Academy.
“It’s important to limit chest CT imaging in patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection unless the imaging will affect patient management. We may overwhelm out CT imaging facilities leading to decreased access for patients who really need it, while putting our hospital staff and other patients at risk of infection.”
– Dr. Carole Dennie, Radiologist at the Ottawa Hospital and President, CSTR