Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published a case study showing chest CT images of a 28-year-old Canadian man.

The patient had presented to the emergency room with chest discomfort, nonproductive cough, and shortness of breath, with no history of travel or contact with COVID-19. A CT scan of his chest showed findings consistent with COVID-19, including bilateral peripheral and rounded ground-glass opacities and regions of peripheral consolidation. After the CT, a nasopharyngeal swab was taken, which tested positive for COVID-19 by RT-PCR.

“Routine screening or diagnosis with CT scanning for COVID-19 is not recommended owing to cost, resource constraints during a pandemic and risk of spreading infection,” the authors wrote. “However, CT may be used to expedite care in symptomatic patients with a negative or pending swab, and in those with worsening respiratory status or developing complications such as empyema or acute respiratory distress syndrome. One recent study of 601 patients showed chest CT scanning to be 97% sensitive, but only 25% specific compared with RT-PCR testing, which is both sensitive and specific (95%–97%). Our Canadian case highlights CT imaging features of COVID-19 consistent with the international experience.”

Read more from CMAJ.

Featured image: Chest computed tomography scan of a 28-year-old man, showing multifocal bilateral peripheral rounded and ill-defined ground-glass opacities (A and B) with regions of rounded consolidation in the lower lobes (C and D). Credit CMAJ.