ISSN: 1899-0967
Polish Journal of Radiology
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vol. 85
Chest radiology
Review paper

COVID-19 severity scoring systems in radiological imaging – a review

Piotr G. Wasilewski
1, 2
Bartosz Mruk
1, 2
Samuel Mazur
1, 2
Gabriela Półtorak-Szymczak
1, 2
Katarzyna Sklinda
1, 2
Jerzy Walecki
1, 2

Department of Radiology, Medical Centre of Postgraduate Education, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior in Warsaw, Poland
Pol J Radiol 2020; 85: e361-e368
Online publish date: 2020/07/17
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The current reference standard to make a definitive diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is the reverse transcription-

polymerase chain reaction assay (rt-PCR). However, radiological imaging plays a crucial role in evaluating the course of COVID-19 and in choosing proper management of infected patients. Chest X-ray (CXR) is generally considered not to be sensitive for the detection of pulmonary abnormalities in the early stage of the disease. However, in the emergency setting CXR can be a useful diagnostic tool for monitoring the rapid progression of lung involvement in COVID-19, especially in patients admitted to intensive care units. The rapid course of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the severity and progression of lung aberrations require a method of radiological evaluation to implement and manage the appropriate treatment for infected patients. Computed tomography (CT) imaging is considered to be the most effective method for the detection of lung abnormalities, especially in the early stage of the disease. Moreover, serial chest CT imaging with different time intervals is also effective in estimating the evolution of the disease from initial diagnosis to discharge from hospital. Despite having low specificity in distinguishing abnormalities in viral infections, the high sensitivity of CT makes this method ideal for assessing the severity of the disease in patients with confirmed COVID-19.

X-ray, computed tomography, CT, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, CXR

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