Radiology indispensable for tracking COVID-19

Diagn Interv Imaging. 2021 Feb;102(2):69-75. doi: 10.1016/j.diii.2020.11.008. Epub 2020 Nov 24.


With the rapid spread of COVID-19 worldwide, early detection and efficient isolation of suspected patients are especially important to prevent the transmission. Although nucleic acid testing of SARS-CoV-2 is still the gold standard for diagnosis, there are well-recognized early-detection problems including time-consuming in the diagnosis process, noticeable false-negative rate in the early stage and lacking nucleic acid testing kits in some areas. Therefore, effective and rational applications of imaging technologies are critical in aiding the screen and helping the diagnosis of suspected patients. Currently, chest computed tomography is recommended as the first-line imaging test for detecting COVID-19 pneumonia, which could allow not only early detection of the typical chest manifestations, but also timely estimation of the disease severity and therapeutic effects. In addition, other radiological methods including chest X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission computed tomography also show significant advantages in the detection of COVID-19 pneumonia. This review summarizes the applications of radiology and nuclear medicine in detecting and diagnosing COVID-19. It highlights the importance for these technologies to curb the rapid transmission during the pandemic, considering findings from special groups such as children and pregnant women.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; COVID-19; Magnetic resonance imaging; Positron emission tomography computed tomography.; Tomography; X-ray computed.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • COVID-19 / diagnostic imaging*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission*
  • Child
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Patient Identification Systems*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed