Chest X-ray Findings and Temporal Lung Changes in Patients With COVID-19 Pneumonia

Liqa A. Rousan; Eyhab Elobeid; Musaab Karrar; Yousef Khader


BMC Pulm Med. 2020;20(245) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Chest CT scan and chest x-rays show characteristic radiographic findings in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Chest x-ray can be used in diagnosis and follow up in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. The study aims at describing the chest x-ray findings and temporal radiographic changes in COVID-19 patients.

Methods: From March 15 to April 20, 2020 patients with positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for COVID-19 were retrospectively studied. Patients' demographics, clinical characteristics, and chest x-ray findings were reported. Radiographic findings were correlated with the course of the illness and patients' symptoms.

Results: A total of 88 patients (50 (56.8%) females and 38 (43.2%) males) were admitted to the hospital with confirmed COVID-19. Their age ranged from 3 to 80 years (35.2 ± 18.2 years). 48/88 (45%) were symptomatic, only 13/88 (45.5%) showed abnormal chest x-ray findings. A total of 190 chest x-rays were obtained for the 88 patients with a total of 59/190 (31%) abnormal chest x-rays. The most common finding on chest x-rays was peripheral ground glass opacities (GGO) affecting the lower lobes. In the course of illness, the GGO progressed into consolidations peaking around 6–11 days (GGO 70%, consolidations 30%). The consolidations regressed into GGO towards the later phase of the illness at 12–17 days (GGO 80%, consolidations 10%). There was increase in the frequency of normal chest x-rays from 9% at days 6–11 up to 33% after 18 days indicating a healing phase. The majority (12/13, 92.3%) of patients with abnormal chest x-rays were symptomatic (P = 0.005).

Conclusion: Almost half of patients with COVID-19 have abnormal chest x-ray findings with peripheral GGO affecting the lower lobes being the most common finding. Chest x-ray can be used in diagnosis and follow up in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.