Background: The recent outbreak of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, PR China, was caused by a novel beta coronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Purpose: To summarize chest computed tomography (CT) manifestations of the early stage of COVID-19 infection and provide a piece of reliable imaging evidence for initial screening and diagnosis.
Material and methods: From 10 January 2020 to 10 February 2020, we continuously observed chest CT imaging of 14 patients with clinically suspected new coronavirus infection in the two weeks after onset of symptoms. Ground-glass opacity (GGO), consolidation, reticular pattern, and ground-glass mimic nodules in each patient's chest CT image were recorded.
Results: We enrolled 14 patients, of which nine patients had the infection confirmed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Five patients were highly suspected of infection. All cases had epidemiological evidence. GGO was a dominant imaging manifestation in the initial days of infection. GGO performance accounts for 40% in 1- 2 days, 90% in 3- 6 days, and 85% in 7- 10 days. With disease progression, consolidation appeared on follow-up CT. Consolidation performance accounts for 0% in 1- 2 days, 40% in 3- 6 days, and 71% in 7- 10 days. The lesions are mostly near the pleura. The number of lesions and the extent of the lesions increased as the disease progressed.
Conclusion: Patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia have characteristic CT features in the initial stage of infection, which can be used as an essential supplement for nucleic acid examination.
Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus; ground-glass opacity; reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction; thin chest CT.
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