Prof. Eric Delabrousse and his team at Besancon University Hospital in France have been mobilized since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Their institution, as well as all hospitals in the Eastern part of France, has been severely affected by the pandemic, with approximately 3,000 diagnosed cases. In the first half of March, they made the decision in agreement with their clinicians to use CT, not as a screening tool but as a differential diagnostic procedure for patients with severe respiratory and septic symptoms, in order to rule out other infectious diseases of the respiratory tract and acute pulmonary embolism.
The team has recently published a major study in Radiology, which may dramatically transform the use of CT for COVID-19 related complications.
Chest CT currently plays an important role in the management of patients with this virus. Existing guidelines recommend performing non-contrast chest CT to assess the pattern and extension of the disease1, while eliminating alternate diagnoses or added pathologies.
This exam helps quantify the spread of the COVID-19 infection on the lungs; however, Prof. Delabrousse and his colleagues observed that the condition of the lungs revealed by chest CT was not always correlated with the severity of the symptoms observed.