Computed tomography findings of COVID-19 pneumonia in Intensive Care Unit-patients

  • Riccardo Cau
    Department of Radiology, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria (A.O.U.) di Cagliari, Polo di Monserrato (CA), Italy.
  • Zeno Falaschi
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Alessio Paschè
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Pietro Danna
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Roberto Arioli
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Chiara D. Arru
    Department of Radiology, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria (A.O.U.) di Cagliari, Polo di Monserrato (CA), Italy.
  • Domenico Zagaria
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Stefano Tricca
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Jasjit S. Suri
    Stroke Monitoring and Diagnosis Division, AtheroPoint™, Roseville, CA, and Global Biomedical Technologies, Inc., Roseville, CA, United States.
  • Mannudeep K. Karla
    Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.
  • Alessandro Carriero
    Department of Radiology, A.O.U. “Maggiore d.c.”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
  • Luca Saba
    Department of Radiology, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria (A.O.U.) di Cagliari, Polo di Monserrato (CA), Italy.


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.

 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).

: 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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