Chest radiography (CXR) is most likely to be the utilized modality for diagnosing COVID-19 and following up on any lung-associated abnormalities. This review provides a meta-analysis of the current literature on CXR imaging findings to determine the most common appearances of lung abnormalities in COVID-19 patients in order to equip medical researchers and healthcare professionals in their efforts to combat this pandemic. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. The inclusion criteria consisted of: (1) published in English literature; (2) original research study; (3) sample size of at least 5 patients; (4) reporting clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients as well as CXR imaging features; and (5) noting the number of patients with each corresponding imaging feature. A total of 1948 patients were included in this study. To perform the meta-analysis, a random-effects model calculated the pooled prevalence and 95% confidence intervals of abnormal CXR imaging findings. Seventy-four percent (74%) (95% CI: 51-92%) of patients with COVID-19 had an abnormal CXR at the initial time of diagnosis or sometime during the disease course. While there was no single feature on CXR that was diagnostic of COVID-19 viral pneumonia, a characteristic set of findings were obvious. The most common abnormalities were consolidation (28%, 95% CI: 8-54%) and ground-glass opacities (29%, 95% CI: 10-53%). The distribution was most frequently bilateral (43%, 95% CI: 27-60%), peripheral (51%, 95% CI: 36-66%), and basal zone (56%, 95% CI: 37-74%) predominant. Contrary to parenchymal abnormalities, pneumothorax (1%, 95% CI: 0-3%) and pleural effusions (6%, 95% CI: 1-16%) were rare.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.