CT findings in “Post-Covid”: residua from acute pneumonia or “Post-Covid-ILD”?

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Stefanie Meiler https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7324-2532
Florian Poschenrieder
Arno Mohr
Quirin Strotzer
Gregor Scharf
Janine Rennert
Christian Stroszczynski
Michael Pfeifer
Okka Hamer


COVID-19, pneumonia, ILD, long covid


The aim of this study was to evaluate if CT findings in patients with pulmonary Post Covid syndrome represent residua after acute pneumonia or if SARS-CoV 2 induces a true ILD. Consecutive patients with status post acute Covid-19 pneumonia and persisting pulmonary symptoms were enrolled. Inclusion criteria were availability of at least one chest CT performed in the acute phase and at least one chest CT performed at least 80 days after symptom onset. In both acute and chronic phase CTs 14 CT features as well as distribution and extent of opacifications were independently determined by two chest radiologists. Evolution of every single CT lesion over time was registered intraindividually for every patient. Moreover, lung abnormalities were automatically segmented using a pre-trained nnU-Net model and volume as well as density of parenchymal lesions were plotted over the entire course of disease including all available CTs. 29 patients (median age 59 years, IQR 8, 22 men) were enrolled. Follow-up period was 80-242 days (mean 134). 152/157 (97 %) lesions in the chronic phase CTs represented residua of lung pathology in the acute phase. Subjective and objective evaluation of serial CTs showed that CT abnormalities were stable in location and continuously decreasing in extent and density. The results of our study support the hypothesis that CT abnormalities in the chronic phase after Covid-19 pneumonia represent residua in terms of prolonged healing of acute infection. We did not find any evidence for a Post Covid ILD.


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