MAR 25, 2020 10:44 AM PDT

Images of Lungs from COVID-19 Patients Reveal Diagnostic Significance

WRITTEN BY: Carly Boyd

As many of us know, COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is impacting every part of our life. With so much misinformation out there, it is imperative to keep abreast of the scientific and medical studies being published. Last week a group of scientists published the results of the CT scans of the lungs of patients first contracted with coronavirus from Wuhan, China. The scans show the specific abnormalities in the lungs caused by COVID-19 and provide a valuable diagnostic tool for diagnosing viral pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. 

This study was a retrospective study, meaning that the patients had already been discharged and recovering or had passed away in the hospital. All the patients were positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus and had infected pneumonia. Chest images and clinical characteristics were gathered for study from the time they were infected. Of the total 27 patients studied, 11 developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and required a ventilator, 10 of which passed away.

The CT scans showed specific signatures of lung damage and involvement due to the novel coronavirus. The particular characteristics included ground-glass opacities (a hazy opacity commonly seen in pneumonia), and multiple areas of lung involvement but mostly the bilateral and lower lung zones. A larger area of lung involvement was consistent in the patients that had passed away. 

"Comparison of CT images between survival group and mortality group". A,B, and C represent the survival group. D,E, and F represent the mortality group.

With the consolidation of this information, it may be easier to diagnose the severity of COVID-19 in patients using CT scans of the lungs. Studies such as this one may increase the speed and specificity of treatment, leading to decreased mortality of patients. 

If you would like to learn more about lung involvement in COVID-19, check out this video:

Sources: "Association of radiologic findings with mortality of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China" Yuan et al.

About the Author
  • Being a master's student in Cell and Molecular Biology, I'm interested in a variety of topics in biology. Currently, I'm researching ways to identify putative enhancer elements for peripheral nervous system development in the genome of Ciona intestinalis (our closest invertebrate relative).
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