Computed tomography findings of COVID-19 pneumonia in Intensive Care Unit-patients
Background: In December 2019, a cluster of unknown etiology pneumonia cases occurred in Wuhan, China leading to identification of the responsible pathogen as SARS-coV-2. Since then, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread to the entire world. Computed Tomography (CT) is frequently used to assess severity and complications of COVID-19 pneumonia. The purpose of this study is to compare the CT patterns and clinical characteristics in intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
Design and Methods: This retrospective study included 218 consecutive patients (136 males; 82 females; mean age 63±15 years) with laboratory-confirmed SARS-coV-2. Patients were categorized in two different groups: (a) ICU patients and (b) non-ICU inpatients. We assessed the type and extent of pulmonary opacities on chest CT exams and recorded the information on comorbidities and laboratory values for all patients.
Results: Of the 218 patients, 23 (20 males: 3 females; mean age 60 years) required ICU admission, 195 (118 males: 77 females, mean age 64 years) were admitted to a clinical ward. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients were predominantly males (60% versus 83% p=0.03), had more comorbidities, a positive CRP (p=0.04) and higher LDH values (p=0.008). ICU patients’ chest CT demonstrated higher incidence of consolidation (p=0.03), mixed lesions (p=0.01), bilateral opacities (p<0.01) and overall greater lung involvement by consolidation (p=0.02) and GGO (p=0.001).
Conclusions: CT imaging features of ICU patients affected by COVID-19 are significantly different compared with non-ICU patients. Identification of CT features could assist in a stratification of the disease severity and supportive treatment.
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