Accurate and detailed insight into the condition of your lungs is one of the imperatives in the timely and clear diagnosis of the virus responsible for Covid-19. Timely response to inflammatory processes is key to successful treatment of patients and minimizing potential complications and consequences of the disease.
Doctors involved in the treatment of patients infected with this virus agree that in some cases only a lung scan gave important information about the infected person’s condition, because the PCR test, although among the most reliable currently on the market, gave a false negative result in 19% of cases.
Pulmonologists recommend two imaging methods in case of suspected coronavirus: lung ct or lung X-ray. Ultrasound is excluded because its possibilities are limited and insufficient to create a complete picture of the condition of the lungs in this situation.
What Is an X-Ray?
The X-ray machine records the photochemical effect of X-rays on the silver emulsion on the film plate, part of the rays is retained in the process of passing through the skin, muscles, bones, respiratory tract, blood vessels, lymph glands, lung tissue, and the other part is seen as a shadow of different light intensity.
What Does a Lung X-Ray Show?
CT of the lungs in this way can be used to detect various diseases, including bronchitis, asthma, tumor, but also to determine the damage caused by coronavirus.
Doctors have noticed that in the early stages of the development of Covid-19, it can happen that the X-ray image does not show any changes in the lungs, and that from the aspect of early diagnosis, this image is not always a reliable source.
Although this method is not 100% accurate, the percentage of accuracy is high and is often applied both in our country and in the world.
What Is a CT Scanner and How Does It Work?
The scanner- CT (computed tomography) as well as the X-ray machine uses X-rays, but also modern technology. The appearance of the device resembles a box with a circular opening in the middle. The patient lies on a moving table and is exposed to the rays. There is a moving part of the scanner called a ring around the patient, and there is an X-ray tube and an electronic X-ray detector at opposite ends.
MSCT (multi-slice scanner) is a modern and currently the most accurate diagnostic method available. It is important to note that the imaging procedure itself is painless, non-invasive and does not use large doses of X-rays.
Is Preparation Required for CT Scan of the Lungs?
Imaging the lungs in this way does not require any special preparation.
Can a CT Scan Indicate an Issues Before Symptoms Appear?
Previous experiences of health workers around the world have shown that CT of the lungs is an extremely reliable way of detecting problems with this organ, even those caused by the presence of coronavirus in the human body.
Several studies have been performed in which it was concluded that changes were observed in this way even in situations when the PCR test in individuals was negative. It has been used in diagnostics in China since the very beginning of the epidemic, and American and European pulmonologists have a similar opinion about the benefits of this method.
It has also been proven that changes in the lungs can occur both before the presence of the virus is laboratory confirmed, but also before the development of obvious symptoms.
Some symptoms are more likely to be present. They can be very mild and inconsistent, so it can happen that the patient ignores them and does not take them seriously. They can occur in the form of a mild temperature that passes quickly, and then comes back again, coughing may be present. However, in much rarer situations, there is a possibility that changes in the lungs also occur in asymptomatic patients. The absence of symptoms in such patients does not mean that they are safe and that the disease will not progress.
It is important to monitor your condition, but also your contacts, so that you can react in time and call your doctor.
There are several stages of this disease and each is associated with certain specifics. Depending on the stage you are in, the symptoms, your general condition, and which methods the doctor will decide to use. Of course, you have an advantage if the correct diagnosis is made as early as possible, and with this disease, every day is important because of the way and pace at which it develops.
Four Stages of Sars-Cov-2 Disease
- The early stage of the disease is the period from the first to the fourth day. If the symptoms exist, they can be very mild, but already in this period, the probability that some change will be detected on the CT image is about 45%. PCR test and CT are the most reliable in such an early period and are of great importance for the early diagnosis of the disease. Early diagnosis and early application of therapy imply a greater chance for faster and more successful recovery of the endangered organ. In addition, the possible consequences of the disease will be minimized.
- The advanced stage is from the fifth to the eighth day and then you can already notice the changes that doctors describe as “ground glass” which very often covers both lungs. Then it is already obvious that the problem exists and it is very important that the patient receives the appropriate therapy in order to fight the disease. Untimely and inadequate treatment of the patient leads to the next, more difficult phase.
- The “peak” stage of the disease is from the ninth to the thirteenth day, when serious scars on the lungs already appear.
- The advanced stage is after the fourteenth day and can lead to pulmonary fibrosis- to the final stage of the disease.
Who Is a Candidate for a CT Scanner?
- Patients who have symptoms of a respiratory infection
- Patients with worsening of the condition
- Patients who have other chronic diseases and are at risk of developing a more serious condition
Who Is Not a Candidate for a CT Scanner?
- Patients allergic to iodine
- Patients with kidney disease (it all depends on laboratory parameters)
What Is the CT Finding of a Person Positive for Sars-Cov-2?
The American Society of Radiology drew attention to the fact that the finding of a Sars-Cov-2 positive person can be typical and atypical.
- They described the typical finding as “ground glass” and pointed out that it is usually seen in the lower parts of the lungs, on both lungs. In addition, at a later stage, thickening of the interstitium, lung consolidation zones and thickening of the bronchial walls can be noticed. Further development of the disease can lead to pulmonary fibrosis. Of course, all of this can be characteristic of both bacterial and other viral lung diseases, so other tests such as PCR are important for confirming Sars-CoV-2.
- Atypical findings may involve changes in the form of “ground glass” on only one lung, cavitation in the lungs, small nodules that look like buds.
Is a CT Scanner Harmful?
The CT scanner is safe to use at intervals. At least three months should pass between the two recordings, of course, if it is necessary for the patient, it is possible to make two recordings in a shorter period of time.
This type of imaging would have a negative effect on the tissue if used long and often.
Which Is More Reliable, a CT Scanner or an X-Ray?
Based on previous experiences, studies and recommendations of the greatest experts in the field of medicine, CT scanner will in 97% of cases give valid results related to various types of lung diseases, including those related to coronavirus. From the point of view of finance, X-ray of the lungs is more accessible, so that is one of the reasons why it is often used, but when we talk about accuracy and validity, we prefer CT imaging.
This method gives the most precise insight into the condition of certain human organs. It is safe to use, the procedure itself takes a very short time and you get answers to the most important questions related to your health very quickly. If you have a predisposition for CT lung, you might be interested in prices, speed of getting results and appointments, we are here to answer all your questions.
At the very end, we must emphasize that the doctor has the decisive word in choosing the most efficient method. Our clinic proudly emphasizes that it brings together a team of experts you can trust, but also that we have the most modern diagnostic devices, including the 128 multislice Incisive CT Philips scanner.
Experience, reliability, individual approach to each patient and equipment are something that sets us apart from others.
We know how important health is and that each of you is important and unique. We are here to support you and speed up your steps toward healing.