American College of Radiology. March 11, 2020.
As COVID-19 spreads globally, there is growing interest in methods for rapid diagnosis and the risk of diagnostic error. Delayed diagnosis of COVID-19 may lead to worse patient outcomes and increased exposure of healthy individuals to the novel coronavirus. Two early studies suggested that chest CT may have a sensitivity as high as 97%. However, higher quality studies have shown that the sensitivity of chest CT is only 67-93% among patients with viral pneumonia and imaging features must be interpreted with caution when the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection is low. Based on the risks of misdiagnosis and viral transmission, the American College of Radiology recommends that CT should not be used to screen for or as a first-line test to diagnose COVID-19. CT should be reserved for hospitalized, symptomatic patients with specific clinical indications.