Serum LDH: a potential surrogate to chest radiograph in pediatric Covid-19 patients to reduce radiation exposure

Karuna M. Das, Jamal Aldeen Alkoteesh, Usama M. AlBastaki, Rajvir Singh, Abbey J. Winant, P. Anisha, Amrita Das, Klaus Van Gorkom, Edward Y. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chest radiographs are frequently used to evaluate pediatric patients with COVID-19 infection during the current pandemic. Despite the minimal radiation dose associated with chest radiography, children are far more sensitive to ionizing radiation's carcinogenic effects than adults. This study aimed to examine whether serum biochemical markers could be potentially used as a surrogate for imaging findings to reduce radiation exposure. Methods: The retrospective posthoc analysis of 187 pediatric patients who underwent initial chest radiographs and serum biochemical parameters on the first day of emergency department admission. The cohort was separated into two groups according to whether or not the initial chest radiograph revealed evidence of pneumonia. Spearman's rank correlation was used to connect serum biochemical markers with observations on chest radiographs. The Student's t-test was employed for normally distributed data, and for non-normally distributed data, the Mann–Whitney U test was used. A simple binary logistic regression was used to determine the importance of LDH in predicting chest radiographs. The discriminating ability of LDH in predicting chest radiographs was determined using receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis. The cut-off value was determined using Youden's test. Interobserver agreement was quantified using the Cohen k coefficient. Results: 187 chest radiographs from 187 individual pediatric patients (95 boys and 92 girls; mean age ± SD, 10.1 ± 6.0 years; range, nine months–18 years) were evaluated. The first group has 103 patients who did not have pneumonia on chest radiographs, while the second group contains 84 patients who had evidence of pneumonia on chest radiographs. GGO, GGO with consolidation, consolidation, and peri-bronchial thickening were deemed radiographic evidence of pneumonia in group 2 patients. Individuals in group 2 with radiological indications of pneumonia had significantly higher LDH levels (p = 0.001) than patients in group 1. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient between LDH and chest radiography score is 0.425, showing a significant link. With a p-value of < 0.001, the simple binary logistic regression analysis result validated the relevance of LDH in predicting chest radiography. An abnormal chest radiograph was related to LDH > 200.50 U/L (AUC = 0.75), according to the ROC method. Interobserver agreement between the two reviewers was almost perfect for chest radiography results in both groups (k = 0.96, p = 0.001). Conclusion: This study results show that, compared to other biochemical indicators, LDH has an 80.6% sensitivity and a 62% specificity for predicting abnormal chest radiographs in a pediatric patient with confirmed COVID-19 infection. It also emphasizes that biochemical measures, rather than chest radiological imaging, can detect the pathogenic response to COVID-19 infection in the chest earlier. As a result, we hypothesized LDH levels might be potentially used instead of chest radiography in children with COVID-19, reducing radiation exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130
JournalEgyptian Journal of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Chest radiograph
  • Children
  • LDH
  • Radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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