The CT scan must be a complementary tool to the pharyngeal swab to intercept patients at an early stage, as pointed out by Dr Luca Balzarini, Director of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at Humanitas.

“We have all learned the importance of detecting and intercepting the patient infected with coronavirus at an early stage and we all know how important the pharyngeal swab is to identify it.

As a radiologist, I would add that, with a complementary role to that of the swab, even CT without contrast medium can provide very important information to intercept these patients at an early stage.

A basic CT scan without contrast medium and performed with traditional techniques is able to detect the pulmonary signs of the disease at an early stage, to follow these patients in the evolution of the disease and its worsening in the lungs, but it is also extremely important to intercept patients and recognize them in the type of infection. The CT scan, in fact, provides highly specific information for the coronavirus because the signs present in CT are well identifiable.

The CT scan must, therefore, be done and should be performed in a protected environment to avoid the risk of spreading the disease. I believe it should be done to patients after 24 to 36 hours from the onset of the first symptoms and on entering the emergency room for symptomatic patients. The CT scan must be a complementary tool to the swab, equally valid and equally useful to intercept patients at an early stage”.