Chest Radiographic and CT Findings of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Analysis of Nine Patients Treated in Korea

Korean J Radiol. 2020 Apr;21(4):494-500. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2020.0132. Epub 2019 Feb 26.


Objective: This study presents a preliminary report on the chest radiographic and computed tomography (CT) findings of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia in Korea.

Materials and methods: As part of a multi-institutional collaboration coordinated by the Korean Society of Thoracic Radiology, we collected nine patients with COVID-19 infections who had undergone chest radiography and CT scans. We analyzed the radiographic and CT findings of COVID-19 pneumonia at baseline. Fisher's exact test was used to compare CT findings depending on the shape of pulmonary lesions.

Results: Three of the nine patients (33.3%) had parenchymal abnormalities detected by chest radiography, and most of the abnormalities were peripheral consolidations. Chest CT images showed bilateral involvement in eight of the nine patients, and a unilobar reversed halo sign in the other patient. In total, 77 pulmonary lesions were found, including patchy lesions (39%), large confluent lesions (13%), and small nodular lesions (48%). The peripheral and posterior lung fields were involved in 78% and 67% of the lesions, respectively. The lesions were typically ill-defined and were composed of mixed ground-glass opacities and consolidation or pure ground-glass opacities. Patchy to confluent lesions were primarily distributed in the lower lobes (p = 0.040) and along the pleura (p < 0.001), whereas nodular lesions were primarily distributed along the bronchovascular bundles (p = 0.006).

Conclusion: COVID-19 pneumonia in Korea primarily manifested as pure to mixed ground-glass opacities with a patchy to confluent or nodular shape in the bilateral peripheral posterior lungs. A considerable proportion of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia had normal chest radiographs.

Keywords: COVID-19; Chest X-ray; Computed tomography; Coronavirus; Pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Republic of Korea
  • Thorax
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed