Incidentally Discovered COVID-19 in Low Suspicion Patients
PurposeThe COVID-19 pandemic has been responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide. Testing remains at a premium, and criteria for testing remains reserved for those with lower respiratory infection symptoms and/or a known high-risk exposure. The role of imaging in COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, however few algorithms include imaging criteria, and it is unclear what should be done in low-suspicion patients with positive imaging findings.MethodsFrom 03/01/2020-03/20/2020, a retrospective review
... trospective review of all patients with suspected COVID-19 on imaging was performed. Imaging was interpreted by a board-certified, fellowship trained radiologist. Patients were excluded if COVID-19 infection was suspected at the time of presentation, was the reason for imaging, or if any lower respiratory symptoms were present.ResultsEight patients with suspected COVID-19 infection on imaging were encountered. Seven patients received testing due to suspicious imaging findings with subsequent lab-confirmed COVID-19. No patients endorsed prior exposure to COVID-19, or recent international travel. COVID-19 was suggested in six patients incidentally on abdominal CT and two on chest radiography. At the time of presentation, no patients were febrile and seven endorsed gastrointestinal symptoms. Five COVID-19 patients eventually developed respiratory symptoms and required intubation. Two patients expired during the admission.ConclusionsPatients with imaging findings suspicious for COVID-19 warrant prompt RT-PCR testing even in low clinical suspicion cases. The prevalence of disease in the population may be underestimated by the current paradigm of RT-PCR testing with the current clinical criteria of lower respiratory symptoms and exposure risk.