Background: There are studies that show a chest CT scan is superior to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) studies in the diagnosis of COVID. This study was designed to assess the prevalence of COVID-related lung involvement in patients admitted to a trauma center.
Methods: In a retrospective study, data from a regional referral trauma center from February 21, 2020 to April 10, 2020, were reviewed. All patients admitted to the hospital for whom a chest CT scan was performed during the study period for any reason were included. Trained physicians screened all CT-scans for findings suggestive of COVID-19. Next, blinded radiologists selected CT-scans with findings highly suggestive of COVID involvement. The clinical course and outcome, and the results of PCR for SARS-CoV-2 were recorded assessed.
Results: A total of 4200 chest CT scans were reviewed. After multiple rounds of exclusion, 24 patients with highly- suggestive findings were reviewed. Only three patients developed COVID symptoms during the course of admission. PCR results were positive in 22 patients (92.6%).
Conclusions: We suggest having a lower threshold for ordering chest CT scans in trauma patients at a high risk of COVID infection, as well as those requiring extensive surgical interventions. Also, a thorough review of the available CT scans before invasive procedures, preferably with the help of an expert radiologist, is highly recommended, even when the results of the COVID laboratory tests are negative.