The characteristics and clinical value of chest CT images of novel coronavirus pneumonia

Clin Radiol. 2020 May;75(5):335-340. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2020.03.002. Epub 2020 Mar 19.


Aim: To investigate the characteristics and clinical value of chest computed tomography (CT) images of novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP).

Materials and methods: Clinical data and CT images of 80 cases of NCP were collected. The clinical manifestations and laboratory test results of the patients were analysed. The lesions in each lung segment of the patient's chest CT images were characterised. Lesions were scored according to length and diffusivity.

Results: The main clinical manifestations were fever, dry cough, fatigue, a little white sputum, or diarrhoea. A total of 1,702 scored lesions were found in the first chest CT images of 80 patients. The lesions were located mainly in the subpleural area of the lungs (92.4%). Most of the lesions were ground-glass opacity, and subsequent fusions could increase in range and spread mainly in the subpleural area. Pulmonary consolidation accounted for 44.1% of all of the lesions. Of the 80 cases, 76 patients (95%) had bilateral lung disease, four (5%) patients had unilateral lung disease, and eight (10%) patients had cord shadow.

Conclusion: The chest CT of NCP patients is characterised by the onset of bilateral ground-glass lesions located in the subpleural area of the lung, and progressive lesions that result in consolidation with no migratory lesions. Pleural effusions and mediastinal lymphadenopathy are rare. As patients can have inflammatory changes in the lungs alongside a negative early nucleic acid test, chest CT, in combination with epidemiological and laboratory tests, is a useful examination to evaluate the disease and curative effect.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphadenopathy / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphadenopathy / pathology
  • Lymphadenopathy / virology
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Mediastinal Diseases / pathology
  • Mediastinal Diseases / virology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Pandemics
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / virology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Sputum / virology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2