Chest CT features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia: key points for radiologists
Carotti, Marina et al.
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COVID-19 is an emerging infection caused by a novel coronavirus that is moving so rapidly that on 30 January 2020 the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and on 11 March 2020 as a pandemic. An early diagnosis of COVID-19 is crucial for disease treatment and control of the disease spread. Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) demonstrated a low sensibility; therefore chest computed tomography (CT) plays a pivotal role not only in the early detection and diagnosis, especially for false negative RT-PCR tests, but also in monitoring the clinical course and in evaluating the disease severity. This paper reports the CT findings with some hints on the temporal changes over the course of the disease: the CT hallmarks of COVID-19 are bilateral distribution of ground glass opacities with or without consolidation in the posterior and peripheral lung, but the predominant findings in later phases include consolidations, linear opacities, “crazy-paving” pattern, “reversed halo” sign and vascular enlargement. The CT findings of COVID-19 overlap with the CT findings of other diseases, in particular the viral pneumonia including influenza viruses, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, human metapneumovirus, etc. There are differences as well as similarities in the CT features of COVID-19 compared with those of the severe acute respiratory syndrome. The aim of this article is to review the typical and atypical CT findings in COVID-19 patients in order to help radiologists and clinicians to become more familiar with the disease.