Diagnosing COVID-19 infection by enhanced CT scan

The doctors who normally investigate and report on CT scans (radiologists) now have access to an AI solution to help them with the diagnosis and to more accurately analyse the impact of COVID-19.

The AI software for COVID-19 triage is based on CT scans. The AI product, which is snappily named 'CAD4COVID-CT', builds on a previous development called CAD4COVID for X-ray images. Both solutions have been made available free of charge and are aimed at reducing the workload of clinicians and health workers.

CAD4COVID-CT assesses the suspicion of COVID-19 as well as the severity of the infection based on the percentage of the affected lung. The software aims to enable a quicker detection of suspected COVID-19 cases and allows healthcare specialists to track disease progression and recovery in COVID-19 patients.  

The images (see below) show the differences between normal CT scans and those that have been enhanced using the AI solution.

“We believe imaging and AI can make a difference in the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Eva van Rikxoort, of the AI company (Thirona). “We developed two solutions to triage COVID-19 based on our existing AI software for diseases like COPD, asthma and tuberculosis.”

Besides being available in the Cloud, Thirona has partnered with German company Smart Reporting to make CAD4COVID available on a larger scale. Smart Reporting provides a platform for enhanced medical documentation and launched a free template at the end of March to provide guidance for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in computed tomography of the chest. CAD4COVID-CT is being integrated into Smart Reporting’s template, making it instantly accessible to the more than 10,000 radiologists who are registered on its platform.

Rapid detection and disease progression analysis

CAD4COVID-CT was developed in close collaboration with Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands and the Institute for Digital Medicine - Fraunhofer MEVIS in Germany. The product was developed and validated in over 500 CT scans and performs on the same level as a radiologist.

In this series of CT scan images, the first picture is a regular CT followed by the same scan using the AI heat map:

Comparing regular CT with AI enhanced COVID-19 scans
Regular lung CT scan
AI heat map scan
Regular CT scan from top
COVID infection AI scan from top
Regular CT scan non-AI
AI heat map scan












A respiratory disease featuring attacks of breathlessness and wheezing due to inflammation and narrowing of the upper airways. There is often an allergic component. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
An abbreviation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Full medical glossary
The abbreviation for computed tomography, a scan that generates a series of cross-sectional x-ray images Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
Invasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites. Full medical glossary
An element present in haemoglobin in the red cells. Full medical glossary
An outbreak of infection that affects numerous people in different countries. Full medical glossary
A doctor specializing in the interpretation of imaging techniques for the diagnosis and assessment of disease. Full medical glossary
An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. Full medical glossary
A type of electromagnetic radiation used to produce images of the body. Full medical glossary