Purpose: To evaluate using quantitative analysis on chest CT images a possible lung volume reduction in Long COVID patients who complain mild respiratory symptoms, with chest CT negative for inflammatory findings. Materials and methods: CT images of patients from 18 to 40 years old who underwent chest CT scan at our institution were analyzed retrospectively, using AwServer Thoracic VCAR software for a quantitative study. Exclusion criteria were inflammatory findings at CT, previous lung surgery, lung cancer, and breath artifacts that invalidate the quality of images. Patients were divided into two groups: in the first one ("post-COVID") were patients who had previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, confirmed by an RT-PCR, who underwent chest CT from 3 to 6 months after their negativization for long COVID symptoms; in the control group ("non-COVID"), were enrolled patients who underwent a chest CT scan from January 2018 to December 2019, before the spread of COVID in Italy. Results: Our final population included 154 TC, 77 post-COVID patients (mean age 33 ± 6) and 77 non-COVID patients (mean age 33 ± 4.9). Non statistical significative differences were obtained between groups in terms of age, sex, and other characteristics that affect total lung capacity such as obesity, thoracic malformations, and smoking habit. Mean values of the total lung volume (TV), right-lung volume (RV), and left-lung volume (LV) in the post-COVID group compared with non-COVID group were, respectively: 5.25 ± 0.25 L vs. 5.72 ± 0.26 L (p = 0.01); 2.76 ± 0.14 L vs. 3 ± 0.14 L (p = 0.01); 2.48 ± 0.12 L vs. 2.72 ± 0.12 L (p = 0.01). Conclusion: In patients with symptoms suggesting Long COVID and negative chest CT macroscopic findings, quantitative volume analysis demonstrated a mean value of reduction in lung volume of 10% compared to patients of the same age who never had COVID. A chest CT negative for inflammatory findings may induce clinicians to attribute Long COVID mild respiratory symptoms to anxiety, especially in young patients. Our study brings us beyond appearances and beyond the classic radiological signs, introducing a quantitative evaluation of lung volumes in these patients. It is hard to establish to what extent this finding may contribute to Long COVID symptoms, but this is another step to gain a wider knowledge of the potential long-term effects caused by this new virus.

Long COVID in young patients: impact on lung volume evaluated using multidetector CT / Bellini, Davide; Capodiferro, Paola; Vicini, Simone; Rengo, Marco; Carbone, Iacopo. - In: TOMOGRAPHY. - ISSN 2379-139X. - 9:4(2023), pp. 1276-1285. [10.3390/tomography9040101]

Long COVID in young patients: impact on lung volume evaluated using multidetector CT

Bellini, Davide
Primo
;
Capodiferro, Paola
Secondo
;
Vicini, Simone
;
Rengo, Marco
Penultimo
;
Carbone, Iacopo
Ultimo
2023

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate using quantitative analysis on chest CT images a possible lung volume reduction in Long COVID patients who complain mild respiratory symptoms, with chest CT negative for inflammatory findings. Materials and methods: CT images of patients from 18 to 40 years old who underwent chest CT scan at our institution were analyzed retrospectively, using AwServer Thoracic VCAR software for a quantitative study. Exclusion criteria were inflammatory findings at CT, previous lung surgery, lung cancer, and breath artifacts that invalidate the quality of images. Patients were divided into two groups: in the first one ("post-COVID") were patients who had previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, confirmed by an RT-PCR, who underwent chest CT from 3 to 6 months after their negativization for long COVID symptoms; in the control group ("non-COVID"), were enrolled patients who underwent a chest CT scan from January 2018 to December 2019, before the spread of COVID in Italy. Results: Our final population included 154 TC, 77 post-COVID patients (mean age 33 ± 6) and 77 non-COVID patients (mean age 33 ± 4.9). Non statistical significative differences were obtained between groups in terms of age, sex, and other characteristics that affect total lung capacity such as obesity, thoracic malformations, and smoking habit. Mean values of the total lung volume (TV), right-lung volume (RV), and left-lung volume (LV) in the post-COVID group compared with non-COVID group were, respectively: 5.25 ± 0.25 L vs. 5.72 ± 0.26 L (p = 0.01); 2.76 ± 0.14 L vs. 3 ± 0.14 L (p = 0.01); 2.48 ± 0.12 L vs. 2.72 ± 0.12 L (p = 0.01). Conclusion: In patients with symptoms suggesting Long COVID and negative chest CT macroscopic findings, quantitative volume analysis demonstrated a mean value of reduction in lung volume of 10% compared to patients of the same age who never had COVID. A chest CT negative for inflammatory findings may induce clinicians to attribute Long COVID mild respiratory symptoms to anxiety, especially in young patients. Our study brings us beyond appearances and beyond the classic radiological signs, introducing a quantitative evaluation of lung volumes in these patients. It is hard to establish to what extent this finding may contribute to Long COVID symptoms, but this is another step to gain a wider knowledge of the potential long-term effects caused by this new virus.
2023
long COVID; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease; lung volume; quantitative chest CT
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Long COVID in young patients: impact on lung volume evaluated using multidetector CT / Bellini, Davide; Capodiferro, Paola; Vicini, Simone; Rengo, Marco; Carbone, Iacopo. - In: TOMOGRAPHY. - ISSN 2379-139X. - 9:4(2023), pp. 1276-1285. [10.3390/tomography9040101]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1686177
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