Chest CT is used to assess the severity of lung involvement in COVID-19 pneumonia.
Purpose To determine the change in chest CT findings associated with COVID-19 pneumonia from initial diagnosis until patient recovery.
Materials and Methods This retrospective review included patients with RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 infection presenting between 12 January 2020 to 6 February 2020. Patients with severe respiratory distress and/ or oxygen requirement at any time during the disease course were excluded. Repeat Chest CT was obtained at approximately 4 day intervals. The total CT score was the sum of lung involvement (5 lobes, score 1-5 for each lobe, range, 0 none, 25 maximum) was determined.
Results Twenty one patients (6 males and 15 females, age 25-63 years) with confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia were evaluated. These patients under went a total of 82 pulmonary CT scans with a mean interval of 4±1 days (range: 1-8 days). All patients were discharged after a mean hospitalized period of 17±4 days (range: 11-26 days). Maximum lung involved peaked at approximately 10 days (with the calculated total CT score of 6) from the onset of initial symptoms (R2=0.25), p<0.001). Based on quartiles of patients from day 0 to day 26 involvement, 4 stages of lung CT were defined: Stage 1 (0-4 days): ground glass opacities (GGO) in 18/24 (75%) patients with the total CT score of 2±2; (2)Stage-2 (5-8d days): increased crazy-paving pattern 9/17 patients (53%) with a increase in total CT score (6±4, p=0.002); (3) Stage-3 (9-13days): consolidation 19/21 (91%) patients with the peak of total CT score (7±4); (4) Stage-4 (≥14 days): gradual resolution of consolidation 15/20 (75%) patients with a decreased total CT score (6±4) without crazy-paving pattern.
Conclusion In patients recovering from COVID-19 pneumonia (without severe respiratory distress during the disease course), lung abnormalities on chest CT showed greatest severity approximately 10 days after initial onset of symptoms.