Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia caused similar symptoms to other community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). It is important to early quarantine suspected patients with COVID-19 pneumonia from patients with other CAP to reduce cross infection. The purpose of the study is to review and compare initial thin-section computed tomography (CT) features in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia and other community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).
24 cases of COVID-19 pneumonia (14 males and 10 females; age range, 14-87 years; mean age, 48.0 years) and 28 cases of CAP caused by other pathogens (13 males and 15 females; age range, 24-85 years; mean age, 49.5 years) were included. Thin-section CT features of the lungs for all patients were retrospectively reviewed by two independent radiologists.
There were no significant differences for the shape of main lesions, pure ground glass attenuation (GGA), mixed GGA with consolidation, air bronchogram, linear opacities, halo sign/reversed halo sign, cavitation and lymphadenopathy between the group of COVID-19 pneumonia and the group of other CAP. However, the frequency of crazy-paving appearance, vessel dilatation, bilaterally involvement and peripherally distribution were significantly higher in patients with COVID-19 compared with other CAP ( p =0.031, p =0.000, p =0.029 and p =0.009, respectively). Conversely, the frequencies of pure consolidation, tree-in-bud sign and pleural effusion were significantly higher in patients with CAP than in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia ( p =0.002, p =0.000 and p =0.048, respectively).
There are considerable overlaps in thin-section CT features between COVID-19 pneumonia and other CAP. However, the presence of crazy paving pattern, vessel dilation, bilateral involvement and peripheral distribution contributes to the diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia. While the presence of pure consolidation tree-in-bud sign, pleural effusion can be assisting in exclusive the diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia.