COVID-19 pneumonia manifestations at the admission on chest ultrasound, radiographs, and CT: single-center study and comprehensive radiologic literature review

Eur J Radiol Open. 2020;7:100231. doi: 10.1016/j.ejro.2020.100231. Epub 2020 Apr 4.


Purpose: To investigate the imaging features of emerging COVID-19 pneumonia on chest ultrasound (US), radiographs (CXR) and computed tomography (CT) examinations performed at admission and to provide a comprehensive radiological literature review on ongoing radiological data from recent publications.

Materials and methods: In this retrospective single-center study, we enrolled consecutive patients from February 15, 2020, to March 15, 2020, with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 hospitalized in Valduce Hospital (Como, Italy). Multi-modality imaging findings were evaluated and compared. Literature research was conducted through a methodical search on Pubmed and Embase databases.

Results: Fifty-eight patients (36 men, 22 women; age range, 18-98 years) were included in the study. Among these, chest US, CXR, and CT were performed respectively in twenty-two, thirty-two and forty-two patients. Lung US findings were consistent with diffuse B lines (100%) and subpleural consolidations (27.3%). CXR showed prevalent manifestations of consolidations (46.9%) and hazy increased opacities (37.5%). Typical CT features included bilateral and multilobar ground-glass opacities (GGO) with (59.5%) and without (35.7%) consolidations having a predominantly peripheral distribution (64.3%). Other imaging features included crazy paving pattern (57.1%), fibrous stripes (50%), subpleural lines (35.7%), architectural distortion (28.6%), air bronchogram sign (26.2%), vascular thickening (23.8%) and nodules (2.4%). Also, enlarged lymph nodes (14.3 %) and pleural effusion (7.1%) were observed. The literature review identified twenty-six original studies supporting our imaging chest findings.

Conclusion: The spectrum of chest imaging manifestations of COVID-19 pneumonia upon admission includes B-lines and consolidations on US, consolidations and hazy increased opacities on CXR, and multifocal GGO with consolidations on CT.

Keywords: COVID-19; Computed Tomography (CT); SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease; pneumonia; radiographic chest examination (CXR); ultrasound (US).