A new study has found that computed tomography (CT) scans can be more useful than standard radiography (X-rays) in detecting the severity of disease in patients with the H1N1 virus.
Reports of seven patients with the H1N1 virus who underwent both tests were assessed to reach the conclusion that CT scans were more effective.
Amr M. Ajlan, M.D., lead author of the study, said: "All patients with CT abnormalities showed abnormal findings on the corresponding chest X-rays.
"However, the extent of involvement was more diffuse and the distribution of disease was better characterized on CT."
He added: "The strength of our study is that all CT scans performed showed a similar distribution of abnormalities, which might help physicians prospectively diagnose H1N1 using medical imaging.
"Most cases of H1N1 are mild and self-limited; however, high-risk patients are more likely to have severe complications. Our study suggests that CT is superior to standard chest X-rays and should be the imaging modality of choice in high-risk patients."
The study will be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology but has already been published online.