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Radiographic Presentation of COVID-19: A Systematic Review

19 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020

See all articles by Nasir Bashir

Nasir Bashir

University of Birmingham - College of Medical and Dental Sciences



Background: COVID-19 has spread at an exponential rate worldwide, being recognised by WHO as a pandemic. A combination of high transmissibility and moderate mortality make identifying the disease early on crucial. The aim of this review is to collate the available data documenting the radiographic features of COVID-19, and document their prevalence amongst the existing literature.

Methods: PubMed, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE via OVID were searched for all published literature pertaining to the 2019 novel coronavirus. Inclusion criteria were; studies conducted on patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, studies giving quantifiable data on the prevalence of radiographic features in CT scans of patients with COVID-19, studies conducted on at least 10 patients, studies available in English language, studies where the full-text is available.

Findings: 240 studies were identified; 19 qualified for quantitative synthesis. The total sample size of patients across these studies was 2330. The radiographic features assessed were location of involved segments, distribution of lesions, extent of lesions, number of lobes involved, predominant CT features, and other CT features. The most commonly occurring features identified in the existing literature are; bilateral lung involvement (61·96%), peripherally distributed lesions (71·31%), multifocal lesions (64·19%), involvement of more than two lobes (60·86%), and the presence of ground glass opacities (53·42%).

Interpretation: The findings of this systematic review should act as a guide for clinicians in interpreting CT scans of patients where COVID-19 is suspected. As research progresses, new radiographic findings may emerge, and clinicians should adapt as evidence emerges.

Funding Statement: None

Declaration of Interests: None.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; 2019-nCoV; Coronavirus

Suggested Citation

Bashir, Nasir, Radiographic Presentation of COVID-19: A Systematic Review (3/16/2020). Available at SSRN: or

Nasir Bashir (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - College of Medical and Dental Sciences ( email )

United Kingdom

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