Streamlining Patient Management of Suspected COVID-19 Patients in the Emergency Department : Incorporation of Pulmonary CT Angiography into the Triaging Algorithm

Purpose: To evaluate the use of pulmonary computed tomography (CT) angiography during initial admission at an emergency department (ED), to identify COVID-19 patients with accompanying pulmonary embolism (PE) and its impact on clinical management.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of COVID-19 patients that underwent pulmonary CT angiography at the ED. CT scans were evaluated for the presence and extent of PE and for imaging changes suspicious of COVID-19. Patients were subdivided into two groups: (1) Group A consisted of patients with proven COVID-19 based on real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and (2) Group B of patients suspected for COVID-19, comprising patients positive on RT-PCR and/or COVID-19-suspicious CT findings. To assess the differences between patients with and without pulmonary embolism, Fisher's exact test was used.

Results: A total of 308 patients were admitted to the ED for diagnostic work-up of dyspnea and suspected COVID-19, and 95 patients underwent pulmonary CT angiography. PE was detected in 13.6% (3/22) of patients in Group A and 20.7% (6/29) in Group B. No significant differences were observed between patients with and without PE concerning hospitalization (Group B: 100% (6/6) vs. 91.3% (21/23)), the necessity of oxygen therapy (Group B: 66% (4/6) vs. 43.5% (10/23)), and death (Group B: 33% (2/6) vs. 4.3% (1/23) p > 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: In 20.7% of COVID-19 patients, PE was detected upon admission to the ED. Although the incorporation of early pulmonary CT angiography in patients suspicious of COVID-19 may be beneficial to identify concomitant PE, further studies are necessary to corroborate these findings.


Citation style:
Could not load citation form.


Use and reproduction:
This work may be used under a
CC BY 4.0 LogoCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (CC BY 4.0)