Background: To develop and validate a nomogram for early identification of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) based on initial clinical and CT characteristics.
Methods: The initial clinical and CT imaging data of 217 patients with COVID-19 were analyzed retrospectively from January to March 2020. 217 patients with 146 mild cases and 71 severe cases were randomly divided into training and validation cohorts. Independent risk factors were selected to construct the nomogram for predicting severe COVID-19. Nomogram performance in terms of discrimination and calibration ability was evaluated using the area under the curve (AUC), calibration curve, decision curve, clinical impact curve and risk chart.
Results: In the training cohort, the severity score of lung in the severe group (7, interquartile range [IQR]:5-9) was significantly higher than that of the mild group (4, IQR:2-5) (P < 0.001). Age, density, mosaic perfusion sign and severity score of lung were independent risk factors for severe COVID-19. The nomogram had a AUC of 0.929 (95% CI, 0.889-0.969), sensitivity of 84.0% and specificity of 86.3%, in the training cohort, and a AUC of 0.936 (95% CI, 0.867-1.000), sensitivity of 90.5% and specificity of 88.6% in the validation cohort. The calibration curve, decision curve, clinical impact curve and risk chart showed that nomogram had high accuracy and superior net benefit in predicting severe COVID-19.
Conclusion: The nomogram incorporating initial clinical and CT characteristics may help to identify the severe patients with COVID-19 in the early stage.