A valuable way of assessing COVID-19 patients for further follow-up treatments is to give them chest x-rays (CXR) three months after hospital discharge, found a study published in October in Radiography.
“Out of the 119 patients included, 59 (49.6%) had a CXR score of 0 (Group A) which indicated a complete radiological recovery 3 months post discharge; the remaining 60 (50.4%) had radiological abnormalities with a CXR score of 3.0 ± 2.6 (Group B). In Group A, age, days of hospitalization, CXR scores at admission and before discharge were statistically lower than in Group B (patients with radiological abnormalities),” wrote the Italian team.
“Interestingly,” wrote lead author Dr. Marco Fogante, “CXR score of 3 at admission and CXR score of 2 before discharge were the values with the highest sensitivity and specificity to distinguish the patients with normal (score = 0) and abnormal (score ≥1) CXR at mid-term follow-up. These score (sic) could be used, as cut-off values, to decide if the mid-term follow-up is necessary, avoiding, in this way, an excessive number of CXRs and giving priority to patients with more severe clinical and radiological findings.”
“Radiological abnormalities persist three months after discharge in a high proportion of COVID-19 patients. SO2 [oxygen saturation levels] at admission, days of hospitalization and CXR score before discharge are independent factors for predicting the CXR score at three months. Moreover, age, days of hospitalization, CXR scores at admission and before discharge were statistically higher in the Group with radiological abnormalities than in the Group with radiological complete recovery, three months after discharge. The radiologist has an essential role in the detection of the pathology but he also can play a central role in mid to long-term follow-up of COVID-19, assessing the radiological sequelae of patients and identifying those who might require a closer follow-up,” concluded the team.