Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Italy: Double reading of chest CT examination

Alfonso Reginelli, Roberta Grassi, Beatrice Feragalli, Maria Paola Belfiore, Alessandro Montanelli, Gianluigi Patelli, Michelearcangelo La Porta, Fabrizio Urraro, Roberta Fusco, Vincenza Granata, Antonella Petrillo, Giuliana Giacobbe, Gaetano Maria Russo, Palmino Sacco, Roberto Grassi, Salvatore Cappabianca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the performance of the second reading of chest compute tomography (CT) examinations by expert radiologists in patients with discordance between the reverse transcription real-time fluorescence polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for COVID-19 viral pneumonia and the CT report. Three hundred and seventy-eight patients were included in this retrospective study (121 women and 257 men; 71 years median age, with a range of 29–93 years) and subjected to RT-PCR tests for suspicious COVID-19 infection. All patients were subjected to CT examination in order to evaluate the pulmonary disease involvement by COVID-19. CT images were reviewed first by two radiologists who identified COVID-19 typical CT patterns and then reanalyzed by another two radiologists using a CT structured report for COVID-19 diagnosis. Weighted k values were used to evaluate the inter-reader agreement. The median temporal window between RT-PCRs execution and CT scan was zero days with a range of (-9, 11) days. The RT-PCR test was positive in 328/378 (86.8%). Discordance between RT-PCR and CT findings for viral pneumonia was revealed in 60 cases. The second reading changed the CT diagnosis in 16/60 (26.7%) cases contributing to an increase the concordance with the RT-PCR. Among these 60 cases, eight were false negative with positive RT-PCR, and 36 were false positive with negative RT-PCR. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of CT were respectively of 97.3%, 53.8%, 89.0%, and 88.4%. Double reading of CT scans and expert second readers could increase the diagnostic confidence of radiological interpretation in COVID-19 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Chest CT
  • COVID-19
  • Double reading
  • Radiological signs
  • Structured report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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