The potential for pulmonary involvement among patients presenting with novel swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) is high. To investigate the utility of chest imaging in this setting, we correlated clinical presentation with chest radiographic and CT findings in patients with proven H1N1 cases. Subjects included all patients presenting with laboratory-confirmed H1N1 between 1 May and 10 September 2009 to one of three urban hospitals. Clinical information was gathered retrospectively, including symptoms, possible risk factors, treatment and hospital survival. Imaging studies were re-read for study purposes, and CXR findings compared with CT scans when available. During the study period, 157 patients presented with subsequently proven H1N1 infection. Hospital admission was necessary for 94 (60%) patients, 16 (10%) were admitted to intensive care and 6 (4%) died. An initial CXR, carried out for 123 (78%) patients, was abnormal in only 40 (33%) cases. Factors associated with increased likelihood for radiographic lung abnormalities were dyspnoea (p<0.001), hypoxaemia (p<0.001) and diabetes mellitus (p=0.023). Chest CT was performed in 21 patients, and 19 (90%) showed consolidation, ground-glass opacity, nodules or a combination of these findings. 4 of 21 patients had negative CXR and positive CT. Compared with CT, plain CXR was less sensitive in detecting H1N1 pulmonary disease among immunocompromised hosts than in other patients (p=0.0072). A normal CXR is common among patients presenting to the hospital for H1N1-related symptoms without evidence of respiratory difficulties. The CXR may significantly underestimate lung involvement in the setting of immunosuppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging