A case report of COVID-19 with false negative RT-PCR test: necessity of chest CT.Jpn J Radiol. 2020 May; 38(5):409-410.JJ
The definite diagnosis of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is based on the viral isolation or positive result of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from sputum, or nasal swab, or throat swab. However, the sensitivity to detect COVID-19 of real time (RT)-PCR is reported to be lower than that of chest CT. We report a case of 34-year-old man who was diagnosed as negative for COVID-19 based on the four sequential RT-PCR tests of his pharyngeal swab. Chest CT showed patchy ground-glass opacity on admission, and it rapidly progressed to segmental mixed consolidation and ground-glass opacity 3 days after admission, and it resolved in left upper lobe, but showed multifocal ground-glass opacities 7 days after admission, and they resolved within 2 weeks. The fifth RT-PCR test finally revealed positive results at the fifth day after admission. It is difficult to distinguish COVID-19 pneumonia from other viral pneumonia on CT findings alone; however, we emphasize the utility of chest CT to detect early change of COVID-19 in cases which RT-PCR tests show negative results.