- Coronavirus patients with severe cases often have difficulty breathing.
- That’s because their lungs fill with fluid, which shows up on a CT scan in the form of white patches called “ground glass.”
- Patients with pneumonia also have these patches, but doctors look for a few distinct features to diagnose the new coronavirus.
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The disease caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, is a respiratory illness, so patients often develop a dry cough and difficulty breathing.
Patients with severe cases typically develop fluid in their lungs, similar to those seen in standard pneumonia cases. That fluid can be detected on a CT scan, where it shows up in the form of white patches that doctors call “ground glass.”
CT scans are considered less thorough than lab tests, but here’s what physicians look for to detect the coronavirus in a scan.
Normal lungs should appear black on a CT scan.
It’s common to have small masses of tissue, or lung nodules, that show up as tiny white dots.