Comparison of chest HRCT severity score in PCR positive and PCR negative clinically suspected COVID-19 Patients

  • Hina Hanif Mughal
  • Syed Muhammad Jawad Zaidi
  • Hamza Waqar Bhatti
  • Madiha Maryum
  • Maria Khaliq
  • Nasir Khan
  • Mehwish Kaneez
Keywords: Chest High resolution computed tomography (HRCT); COVID-19; Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).


Background: The limitations and false-negative results of Real-time Polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) in diagnosing COVID-19 infection demand the need for imaging modalities such as chest HRCT to improve the diagnostic accuracy and
assess the severity of the infection.

Objectives: The study aimed to compare the chest HRCT severity scores in RT-PCR positive and negative cases of COVID-19.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 50 clinically suspected COVID-19 patients. Chest HRCT and PCR testing of all 50 patients were done and the chest HRCT severity scores for each lung and bronchopulmonary segments were compared in patients with positive and negative PCR results. Chi-square and Mann Whitney U test were used to assess differences among study variables.

Results: Chest HRCT severity score was more in PCR negative patients than in those with PCR positive results . However, the difference was not significant (p=0.11). There was a significant association in severity scores of the anterior basal segment of the left lung (p=0.022) and posterior segment upper lobe of right lung (p=0.035) with PCR results. This association was insignificant
for other bronchopulmonary segments (p>0.05).

Conclusion: CR negativity does not rule out infection in clinically suspected COVID-19 patients. The use of chest HRCT helps to determine the extent of lung damage in clinically suspected patients irrespective of PCR results. Guidelines that consider clinical symptoms, chest HRCT severity score and PCR results for a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in suspected patients
are needed.

Keywords: Chest High resolution computed tomography (HRCT); COVID-19; Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905