SEP 24, 2020 7:30 AM PDT

2-In-1: Stroke Scans Also Diagnose COVID

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

King’s College London researchers took a closer look at emergency room CT scans of patients suspected of having a stroke and made a surprising discovery: the scans could also be used to indicate the presence of COVID-19 infection.

The study, published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology saw the researchers examining over 200 carotid CTA scans of the blood vessels in the head and neck of patients who were admitted to the stroke unit.

They noticed that in around 20 percent of the scans, the upper regions of the lungs showed ground glass opacity or GGO. This is a term used in radiology to describe the slightly hazy opacity in the respiratory system, indicating that the air spaces in the lungs have partially filled up with fluid.

When put side by side with the COVID-19 diagnostic tests, the authors found that the presence of GGO in CT scans was a solid diagnostic marker of infection, with 75 percent sensitivity and 81 percent specificity. GGO in the lungs was also found to spell bad news for patients, spiking their risk of mortality in the month following the find.

According to the team, this serendipitous finding can limit avoidable exposures of hospital staff to infected patients.

“The implications of our findings plausibly include the earlier selection of the appropriate level of personal protective equipment and attendant staff numbers, triage to appropriate inpatient ward settings, self-isolation, and contact tracing,” the team explained. 

“Biomarkers, such as a scan positive for GGO, should heighten awareness of a potential positive case, possibly changing staff personal protective equipment requirements and also directing a patient to a side room instead of an open ward, pending RT-PCR results.”

 

 

Sources: Diagnostic Imaging, American Journal of Neuroradiology.


 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
JUL 13, 2020
Cancer
Workers in Transportation Might be More at Risk for Cancer
JUL 13, 2020
Workers in Transportation Might be More at Risk for Cancer
Road transportation workers are essential employees in any country. They represent truck, bus, taxi, and other such driv ...
JUL 19, 2020
Cardiology
Common Biomarker Could Predict Heart Disease
JUL 19, 2020
Common Biomarker Could Predict Heart Disease
Heart failure is usually associated with conditions like high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. But there may ...
SEP 03, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Tiny Diagnostic Robot Tank Explores the Colon
SEP 03, 2020
Tiny Diagnostic Robot Tank Explores the Colon
The colon, also known as the large intestine, is where the final stages of digestion happen. Here, water, salts, and rem ...
SEP 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Spot the Robodog Measures COVID Patients' Vitals
SEP 07, 2020
Spot the Robodog Measures COVID Patients' Vitals
Hospital staff caring for COVID-19 patients face the greatest risk of exposure to the virus. A new dog-like robot design ...
SEP 25, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Ray of Hope: Rare Cancer Biomarker Discovered
SEP 25, 2020
Ray of Hope: Rare Cancer Biomarker Discovered
Biliary tract cancer, or BTC, isn’t as talked about as breast or prostate cancers, probably because its incidence ...
OCT 17, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Imaging Innovation Set to Ease the Pain of Osteoarthritis
OCT 17, 2020
Imaging Innovation Set to Ease the Pain of Osteoarthritis
In osteoarthritis, the joint cartilage that cushions bones begins to break down, causing debilitating pain and stiffness ...
Loading Comments...