Comparison between Suspected and Confirmed COVID-19 Respiratory Patients: What Is beyond the PCR Test

Salvatore Battaglia, Nicola Scichilone, Alida Benfante, Stefania Principe, Amelia Grosso, Federica Albicini, Erica Gini, Stefania Principe, Angelo Guido Corsico, Ilaria Rita Piccionello, Marta Amata

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1 Citation (Scopus)


COVID-19 modified the healthcare system. Nasal-pharyngeal swab (NPS), with real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase (PCR), is the gold standard for the diagnosis; however, there are difficulties related to the procedure that may postpone it. The study aims to evaluate whether other elements than the PCR-NPS are reliable and confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19. This is a cross-sectional study on data from the Lung Unit of Pavia (confirmed) and at the Emergency Unit of Palermo (suspected). COVID-19 was confirmed by positive NPS, suspected tested negative. We compared clinical, laboratory and radiological variables and performed Logistic regression to estimate which variables increased the risk of COVID-19. The derived ROC-AUCcurve, assessed the accuracy of the model to distinguish between COVID-19 suspected and confirmed. We selected 50 confirmed and 103 suspected cases. High Reactive C-Protein (OR: 1.02; CI95%: 0.11–1.02), suggestive CT-images (OR: 11.43; CI95%: 3.01–43.3), dyspnea (OR: 10.48; CI95%: 2.08–52.7) and respiratory failure (OR: 5.84; CI95%: 1.73–19.75) increased the risk of COVID-19, whereas pleural effusion decreased the risk (OR: 0.15; CI95%: 0.04–0.63). ROC confirmed the discriminative role of these variables between suspected and confirmed COVID-19 (AUC 0.91). Clinical, laboratory and imaging features predict the diagnosis of COVID-19, independently from the NPS result.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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