OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis regarding the diagnostic test accuracy of chest CT for detecting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and CNKI were searched up to March 12, 2020. We included studies providing information regarding diagnostic test accuracy of chest CT for COVID-19 detection. The methodological quality was assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 tool. Sensitivity and specificity were pooled.
RESULTS: Sixteen studies (n = 3186 patients) were included. The risks of bias in all studies were moderate in general. Pooled sensitivity was 92% (95% CI = 86-96%), and two studies reported specificity (25% [95% CI = 22-30%] and 33% [95% CI = 23-44%], respectively). There was substantial heterogeneity according to Cochran’s Q test (p < 0.01) and Higgins I2 heterogeneity index (96% for sensitivity). After dividing the studies into two groups based on the study site, we found that the sensitivity of chest CT was great in Wuhan (the most affected city by the epidemic) and the sensitivity values were very close to each other (97%, 96%, and 99%, respectively). In the regions other than Wuhan, the sensitivity varied from 61 to 98%.
CONCLUSION: Chest CT offers the great sensitivity for detecting COVID-19, especially in a region with severe epidemic situation. However, the specificity is low. In the context of emergency disease control, chest CT provides a fast, convenient, and effective method to early recognize suspicious cases and might contribute to confine epidemic.
KEY POINTS: • Chest CT has a high sensitivity for detecting COVID-19, especially in a region with severe epidemic, which is helpful to early recognize suspicious cases and might contribute to confine epidemic.