Ching-Long Lin. (U-I photo)

University of Iowa researchers have developed a model so doctors can better detect compromised lung function in long COVID patients using X-rays.

Typically, doctors need 3-D C-T image scans to do this, because regular 2-D chest X-rays don’t give them enough information. U-I mechanical engineering professor Ching-Long Lin says his team took information from C-T scan images of 100 COVID patients and transferred it all into a 2-D model. “Now, the model has the knowledge about the lung function and disease,” Lin says, “and then we transfer that information to two-dimensional chest X-ray scans.”

Lin says this could allow doctors to better diagnose and more quickly treat long COVID-related issues like small airway disease.
“Small airway disease is a phenotype in COPD patients, smokers,” he says, “and the small airway disease in COPD patients will progress to emphysema.”

The new model will also be a plus for smaller medical facilities that don’t have expensive C-T imaging equipment.

(By Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)