China is diagnosing coronavirus patients by looking for ‘ground glass’ in their lungs. Take a look at the CT scans.

A medical staffer works with test systems for the diagnosis of coronavirus, at the Krasnodar Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology microbiology lab in Krasnodar, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Russia has closed its land border with China and suspended most train traffic between the countries. (AP Photo)

Chinese authorities have started diagnosing coronavirus cases in the Hubei province via CT scans.
The scans aren’t as thorough as a blood tests, but doctors in Wuhan, where the virus originated, are reportedly running short on test kits.
To diagnose the virus, physicians look for white patches called “ground glass,” which signal fluid in the lungs.
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Authorities in China’s Hubei province reported a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases on Thursday: 14,840 new cases.

It was most reported in a single day since the outbreak began in December. The Hubei Health Commission also reported that an additional 242 people had died.

But the virus didn’t suddenly becoming more aggressive — instead, Hubei officials said they changed the way they count cases. Rather than relying only on blood tests, which are in limited supply and can take take days to yield results, officials have started including diagnoses made via CT scans in their daily case totals.

The scans are considered less thorough than a blood test, but the New York Times reported last week that doctors in Wuhan, where the virus originated, are running short on test kits.

Patients diagnosed via CT scan — what Chinese officials call “clinically diagnosed cases” — present symptoms of the virus in their lungs, but either haven’t been lab-tested or died before the test could be administered.

The latest figures suggest the virus has killed at least 1,370 people and infected more than 60,000 in total. That number is expected to rise significantly as CT scans capture more cases in the coming days.

Here’s what physicians look for in the scans.

Normal lungs should appear black on a CT scan.

It’s common to have small masses of tissue, or lung nodules, that show up as tiny white dots.

But coronavirus scans tend to have white patches that radiologists refer to as “ground glass opacity.”

“It kind of looks like faint glass that has been ground up,” Paras Lakhani, a radiologist at Thomas Jefferson University, told Business Insider. “What it represents is fluid in the lung spaces.”

On its own, Lakhani said, ground glass isn’t particularly helpful for identifying a coronavirus.

“You can see it with all types of infections — bacterial, viral, or sometimes even non-infectious causes,” Lakhani said. “Even vaping could sometimes appear this way.”

But the patches are significant, he added, when they extend to the edges of the patient’s lungs.

“That’s something we don’t often see,” Lakhani said. “We saw that with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and we saw that with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).”

Both SARS and MERS are also coronaviruses. An outbreak of the former in China resulted in 8,000 cases and 774 deaths from November 2002 to July 2003.

An analysis of nearly 140 coronavirus scans said patches of ground glass on both lungs were a hallmark of the virus.

Researchers analyzed scans from patients at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, the majority of whom were older men with preexisting health problems. The images above are scans from a …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Science

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