In December 2019, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus pneumonia, now called COVID-19, occurred in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. COVID-19, which is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has spread quickly across China and the rest of the world. This study aims to evaluate initial chest thin-section CT findings of COVID-19 patients after their admission at our hospital.
Retrospective study in a tertiary referral hospital in Anhui, China. From January 22, 2020 to February 16, 2020, 110 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients were examined using chest thin-section CT. Patients in group 1 (n = 51) presented with symptoms of COVID-19 according to the diagnostic criteria. Group 2 (n = 29) patients were identified as a high degree of clinical suspicion. Patients in group 3 (n = 30) presented with mild symptoms and normal chest radiographs. The characteristics, positions, and distribution of intrapulmonary lesions were analyzed. Moreover, interstitial lesions, pleural thickening and effusion, lymph node enlargement, and other CT abnormalities were reviewed.
CT abnormalities were found only in groups 1 and 2. The segments involved were mainly distributed in the lower lobes (58.3%) and the peripheral zone (73.8%). The peripheral lesions, adjacent subpleural lesions, accounted for 51.8%. Commonly observed CT patterns were ground-glass opacification (GGO) (with or without consolidation), interlobular septal thickening, and intralobular interstitial thickening. Compared with group 1, patients in group 2 presented with smaller lesions, and all lesions were distributed in fewer lung segments. Localized pleural thickening was observed in 51.0% of group 1 patients and 48.2% of group 2 patients. The prevalence of lymph node enlargement in groups 1 and 2 combined was extremely low (1 of 80 patients), and no significant pleural effusion or pneumothorax was observed (0 of 80 patients).
The common features of chest thin-section CT of COVID-19 are multiple areas of GGO, sometimes accompanied by consolidation. The lesions are mainly distributed in the lower lobes and peripheral zone, and a large proportion of peripheral lesions are accompanied by localized pleural thickening adjacent to the subpleural region.