December 15, 2020

Preop screening for COVID-19 in asymptomatic patients using chest CT, RT-PCR

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study from the Netherlands found that the added value of using chest CT in addition to RT-PCR to screen patients for COVID-19 before surgery was limited.

Of 2,093 preoperative patients without COVID-19 symptoms analyzed, 1,224 were screened by CT and RT-PCR and 869 by chest CT only.


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The positive yield of screening with chest CT plus RT-PCR was 1.5%, with individual yields of 0.7% for chest CT and 1.1% for RT-PCR. The incremental yield of chest CT was 0.4%

The researchers concluded that 1 in 100 of preoperative surgical patients without COVID-19 symptoms tested positive with RT-PCR, and this yield increased with community prevalence. The added value of chest CT was limited.

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