A Systematic Meta-Analysis of CT Features of COVID-19: Lessons from Radiology

Vasantha Kumar Venugopal, Vidur Mahajan, Sriram Rajan, Vikash Kumar Agarwal, Ruchika Rajan, Salsabeel Syed, Harsh Mahajan

This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.


Several studies have been published in the past few months describing the CT features of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is a great degree of heterogeneity in the study designs, lesion descriptors used and conclusions derived. In our systematic analysis and meta-review, we have attempted to homogenize the reported features and provide a comprehensive view of the disease pattern and progression in different clinical stages. After an extensive literature search, we short-listed and reviewed 49 studies including over 4145 patients with 3615 RT-PCR positive cases of COVID-19 disease. We have found that there is a good agreement among these studies that diffuse bilateral ground-glass opacities (GGOs) is the most common finding at all stages of the disease followed by consolidations and mixed density lesions. 78% of patients with RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 infections had either ground-glass opacities, consolidation or both. Inter-lobular septal thickening was also found to be a common feature in many patients in advanced stages. The progression of these initial patchy ground-glass opacities and consolidations to diffuse lesions with septal thickening, air bronchograms in the advanced stages, to either diffuse white-out lungs needing ICU admissions or finally resolving completely without or with residual fibrotic strips was also found to be congruent among multiple studies. Prominent juxta-lesional pulmonary vessels, pleural effusion and lymphadenopathy in RT-PCR proven cases were found to have poor clinical prognosis. Additionally, we noted wide variation in terminology used to describe lesions across studies and suggest the use of standardized lexicons to describe findings related to diseases of vital importance.

For Full Paper: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.04.20052241v1