X-rays predict likelihood of SARS death

September 1, 2005

A retrospective review of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome revealed that chest x-rays taken seven days after onset of symptoms could predict the likelihood of death.

A retrospective review of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome revealed that chest x-rays taken seven days after onset of symptoms could predict the likelihood of death.

Dr. Gregory Antonio and colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong examined radiographic records for 313 SARS patients. They analyzed the percentage area of lung opacification and the number of lung zones affected, allocating radiographic scores accordingly. Univariate logistical regression models for these scores for each of the first 12 days after symptom onset showed day seven to be the earliest point at which reliable prognosis could be made.

"If patients could be stratified according to risk early in their illness, different arms of a treatment protocol could be devised, and individual treatment could be tailored," the researchers wrote in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.