A Case Series of Patients Suspected to Have Covid-19 Based on Clinical Features, Laboratory Markers and Imaging Studies but Who Were RT-PCR Negative

Author(s): Dilip Pandurang Patil1, Nikhil Dilip Patil2

Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRTPCR) test is the gold
standard assay to diagnose Covid-19 in-spite of few concerns. The disease is
suspected in patients presenting with clinical features suggestive of Covid-19
supported by laboratory markers and imaging studies. We describe a case series
of ten patients suspected to have SARS CoV-2 infection but RTPCR negative.
We carried out a retrospective observational study of patients who presented with
clinical features suggestive of Covid-19 but were RTPCR negative. As dedicated
Covid hospitals, RTPCR negative patients were not admitted because of overload.
We admitted such patients in isolation ward in non Covid hospitals, evaluated them
further with laboratory biomarkers, and imaging studies. All patients were
categorised in disease severity and were managed according to guidelines of
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) India.
Our case series included ten patients with a mean age of 55.1 years and the male
to female ratio was 1.5:1. All patients (100 %) were suspected to have SARS CoV-
2 infection. Commonest symptom was fever in all (100 %) and least common was
diarrhoea in 30 % patients. Mean SpO2 was 92.5 % on pulse oximeter (range 91
to 94 %). The laboratory findings showed (median): white blood cell count 9400
/ cumm, N / L ratio 3.78, C-reactive protein (CRP) 46.21 mg / L, D-dimer 465 ng
/ mL, lactate dehydrogenase 499.59 U / L, serum ferritin 160.55 ng / mL,
interleukin 6 31.6 pg / mL. Chest radiograph showed patchy non homogenous
opacities in lungs in 6 (60 %) out of 10 patients, high resolution computed
tomography (HRCT) chest revealed peripheral ground glass opacities (GGOs) in
10 (100 %) patients, Coronavirus Disease 2019 Reporting and Data System (CORADS)
score was 5 in 8 (80 %) patients and less than 5 in 2 (20 %) patients.
In current pandemic, patients presenting with clinical features suggestive of Covid-
19, but RT-PCR negative should be suspected to have SARS CoV-2 infection,
further evaluation with laboratory markers and imaging study help in diagnosis.
Managing and monitoring according to MoHFW guidelines show good clinical