Our objective was to retrospectively analyze the evolution of clinical features and thin-section computed tomography (CT) imaging of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia in 17 discharged patients.
Serial thin-section CT scans of 17 discharged patients with COVID-19 were obtained during recovery. Longitudinal changes of clinical parameters and a CT pattern were documented in all patients during the 4 weeks after admission. A CT score was used to evaluate the extent of the disease.
There were marked improvements of fever, lymphocyte counts, C-reactive proteins, and erythrocyte sedimentation rates within the first 2 weeks after admission. However, the mean CT score rapidly increased from the first to the third week, with a top score of 8.2 obtained in the second week. During the first week, the main CT pattern was ground-glass opacities (GGO; 76.5%). The frequency of GGO (52.9%) decreased in the second week. Consolidation and mixed patterns (47.0%) were noted in the second week. Thereafter, consolidations generally dissipated into GGO, and the frequency of GGO increased in the third week (76.5%) and fourth week (71.4%). Opacities were mainly located in the peripheral (76.5%) and subpleural (47.1%) zones of the lungs; they presented as focal (35.3%) or multifocal (29.4%) in the first week and became more diffuse in the second (47.1%) and third weeks (58.8%), then showed a reduced extent in fourth week (50%).
The progression course of the CT pattern was later than the progression of the clinical parameters within the first 2 weeks after admission; however, there were synchronized improvements in both the clinical and radiologic features in the fourth week.