Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(1):270-275. doi:10.7150/ijms.48281 This issue

Research Paper

Prognostic value of initial chest CT findings for clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19

Song Liu1, Chen Nie2, Qizhong Xu3, Hong Xie1, Maoren Wang4, Chengxin Yu1*✉, Xuewen Hou5*✉

1. Department of Radiology, The First College of Clinical Medical Science, China Three Gorges University, Yichang Central People's Hospital, Yichang, China.
2. Department of Radiology, Yichang Second People's Hospital, Yichang, China.
3. Department of Radiology, Shenzhen Second People's Hospital, Shenzhen, China.
4. Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
5. Department of Internal Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, German Heart Center Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Liu S, Nie C, Xu Q, Xie H, Wang M, Yu C, Hou X. Prognostic value of initial chest CT findings for clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(1):270-275. doi:10.7150/ijms.48281. Available from

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Rationale: To identify whether the initial chest computed tomography (CT) findings of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are helpful for predicting the clinical outcome.

Methods: A total of 224 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who underwent chest CT examination within the first day of admission were enrolled. CT findings, including the pattern and distribution of opacities, the number of lung lobes involved and the chest CT scores of lung involvement, were assessed. Independent predictors of adverse clinical outcomes were determined by multivariate regression analysis. Adverse outcome were defined as the need for mechanical ventilation or death.

Results: Of 224 patients, 74 (33%) had adverse outcomes and 150 (67%) had good outcomes. There were higher frequencies of more than four lung zones involved (73% vs 32%), both central and peripheral distribution (57% vs 42%), consolidation (27% vs 17%), and air bronchogram (24% vs 13%) and higher initial chest CT scores (8.6±3.4 vs 5.4±2.1) (P < 0.05 for all) in the patients with poor outcomes. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that more than four lung zones (odds ratio [OR] 3.93; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.44 to 12.89), age above 65 (OR 3.65; 95% CI: 1.11 to 10.59), the presence of comorbidity (OR 5.21; 95% CI: 1.64 to 19.22) and dyspnea on admission (OR 3.19; 95% CI: 1.35 to 8.46) were independent predictors of poor outcome.

Conclusions: Involvement of more than four lung zones and a higher CT score on the initial chest CT were significantly associated with adverse clinical outcome. Initial chest CT findings may be helpful for predicting clinical outcome in patients with COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, CT, clinical outcomes