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.