The vascular enlargement (VE) pattern differs from previously described imaging patterns for pneumonia. This study aimed to investigate the incidence, computed tomography (CT) characteristics, and diagnostic value of the VE pattern in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The CT data of 106 patients with COVID-19 from January 19 to February 29, 2020, and 52 patients with influenza virus pneumonia (IVP) from January 2018 to February 2020 were retrospectively collected. The incidences of the VE pattern between the two groups were compared. The CT manifestations of COVID-19 were analyzed with a particular focus on the VE pattern’s specific CT signs, dynamic changes, and relationships with lesion size and disease severity.
Peripheral and multilobar ground-glass opacities (GGOs) or mixed GGOs with various sizes and morphologies were typical features of COVID-19 on initial CT. The VE pattern was more common in COVID-19 (88/106, 83.02 %) than in IVP (10/52, 19.23 %) on initial CT (P < 0.001). Three special VE-pattern-specific CT signs, including central vascular sign, ginkgo leaf sign, and comb sign, were identified. Four types of dynamic changes in the VE pattern were observed on initial and follow-up CT, which were closely associated with the evolution of lesions and the time interval from the onset of symptoms to initial CT scan. The VE pattern in COVID-19 was more commonly seen in larger lesions and patients with severe-critical type (all P < 0.001).
The VE pattern is a valuable CT sign for differentiating COVID-19 from IVP, which correlates with more extensive or serious disease. A good understanding of the CT characteristics of the VE pattern may contribute to the early and accurate diagnosis of COVID-19 and prediction of the evolution of lesions.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.