'Chest X-ray scan features that may help diagnose coronavirus revealed'

New York, Feb 5 (PTI) In a first, researchers have described the chest X-ray scan features that may aid in the early detection and diagnosis of the novel Chinese coronavirus which has so far killed nearly 500 people in China.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus that has been temporarily named, the 'novel coronavirus' (2019-nCoV) causes respiratory illness resembling viral pneumonia, resulting in fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The current study, published in the journal Radiology, characterised the key X-ray imaging findings in chest CT scans in a group of 21 patients infected with 2019-nCoV in China.

The patients consisted of 13 men and 8 women ranging in age from 29 to 77 years old, with a mean age of 51.2 years.

According to the researchers, including those from the Mount Sinai Health System in the US, the initial CT scans of the patients were evaluated for several chest features.

These included the presence of partial filling of air spaces in the lungs, liquid deposition in air sacks, and the number of lung lobes affected by these discrepancies.

The researchers also assessed the chest scan images for the presence of nodules, liquid discharge, abnormal lymph node size, and underlying diseases like fibrosis.

According to the study, the 2019-nCoV typically manifests on CT scans which show air sack liquid deposition, and filling up of the air spaces.

However, they cautioned that the absence of abnormal CT findings upon initial examination does not rule out the presence of 2019-nCoV.

'Our patient population is unique from other published series on the Wuhan coronavirus in that three of our patients had normal initial chest CTs,' said Michael Chung, study co-author from Mount Sinai Health System.

'One of these patients progressed three days later and developed a solitary nodular ground-glass lesion in the right lower lobe, indicating this pattern may represent the very first radiologically visible manifestation of disease in some patients infected with Wuhan coronavirus,' he added.

A second patient, Chung said, had a normal follow-up chest CT four days after her initial normal imaging exam.

'This suggests that chest CT lacks complete sensitivity and does not have a perfect negative predictive value. We can't rely on CT alone to fully exclude presence of the virus,' he added. PTI VIS VIS VIS