COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
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Diagnosis Vicini S, Panvini N, Bellini D, et al. Radiographers and COVID-19 pneumonia: Diagnostic performance using CO-RADS. Radiography (Lond). 2021 Apr 30. pii: S1078-8174(21)00049-3. doi: 10.1016/j.radi.2021.04.010.
Abstract

INTRODUCTION: A more structured role of radiographers is advisable to speed up the management of patients with suspected COVID-19. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of radiographers in the detection of COVID-19 pneumonia on chest CT using CO-RADS descriptors.

METHODS: CT images of patients who underwent RT-PCR and chest CT due to COVID-19 suspicion between March and July 2020 were analysed retrospectively. Six readers, including two radiologists, two highly experienced radiographers and two less experienced radiographers, independently scored each CT using the CO-RADS lexicon. ROC curves were used to investigate diagnostic accuracy, and Fleiss'? statistics to evaluate inter-rater agreement.

RESULTS: 714 patients (419 men; 295 women; mean age: 64 years ±19SD) were evaluated. CO-RADS> 3 was identified as optimal diagnostic threshold. Highly experienced radiographers achieved an average sensitivity of 58.7% (95%CI: 52.5-64.7), an average specificity of 81.8% (95%CI: 77.9-85.2), and a mean AUC of 0.72 (95%CI: 0.68-0.75). Among less experienced radiographers, an average sensitivity of 56.3% (95%CI: 50.1-62.2) and an average specificity of 81.5% (95%CI: 77.6-84.9) were observed, with a mean AUC of 0.71 (95%CI: 0.68-0.74). Consultant radiologists achieved an average sensitivity of 60.0% (95%CI: 53.7-65.8), an average specificity of 81.7% (95%CI: 77.8-85.1), and a mean AUC of 0.73 (95%CI: 0.70-0.77).

CONCLUSION: Radiographers can adequately recognise the classic appearances of COVID-19 on CT, as described by the CO-RADS assessment scheme, in a way comparable to expert radiologists.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Radiographers, as the first healthcare professionals to evaluate CT images in patients with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection, could diagnose COVID-19 pneumonia by means of a categorical reporting scheme at CT in a reliable way, hence playing a primary role in the early management of these patients.

Ratings
Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Infectious Disease
Respirology/Pulmonology
Pediatric Hospital Medicine
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Comments from MORE raters

Infectious Disease rater

The benefit of this article is that it enables radiographers to diagnose Covid-19, thus helping out radiologists in their day-to-day practice and effort.

Internal Medicine rater

The results showed little agreement in accurate Dx of Covid-19 unless the radiologist was an expert. What does one do when a busy ER uses a less expert radiologist? The MRI seemed to help make the early Dx, but it should remain a part of the diagnostic approach.

Respirology/Pulmonology rater

CT scan is controversial in COVID-19 because after PCR tests, the CT findings do not change management decisions.