Negative nasopharyngeal swabs in COVID-19 pneumonia: the experience of an Italian Emergengy Department (Piacenza) during the first month of the Italian epidemic

Main Article Content

Erika Poggiali
Andrea Vercelli
Giovanni Battista Vadacca
Roberta Schiavo
Silvana Mazzoni
Eva Ioannilli
Elena Demichele
Andrea Magnacavallo

Keywords

COVID-19, nasopharyngeal swab, RT-PCR, serology, Italian epidemic

Abstract

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a systemic disease which can cause multiple organ failure and death primarly due to vascular endothelium injury. Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the main cause of death: its management and treatment should be tailored to the individual COVID-19 patient’s phenotype. Early diagnosis of COVID-19 is paramount for disease treatment and infection control. Naso-pharyngeal (NP) swab is commonly used as screening and diagnostic tool for COVID-19, but in some cases it can be resulted negative even in presence of clinical and epidemiological criteria, and typical radiological and laboratory findings of COVID-19 as we have observed. Here we report our experience in the first month of the Italian epidemic. We strongly recommend that clinicians maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19, regardless of the persistence negativity of NP swabs, and not to delay the initiation of therapy in presence of typical clinical, radiological and laboratory findings of COVID-19.

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