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Incidental cardiovascular findings on chest CT scans requested for suspected COVID-19

José Maciel Caldas dos Reis Glauco dos Santos Melo Murilo Vasconcelos de Oliveira Mariana Morgado Fernandez Tereza Maria Meireles Fernandes da Silva Hugo Luis da Silva Ferreira Mariseth Carvalho de Andrade About the authors

Abstract

Background

Computed tomography scans of the chest are often requested as a complementary examination to investigate a clinical suspicion of pulmonary disease caused by the novel coronavirus 19 (COVID-19).

Objectives

Our objective was to analyze the prevalence of incidental cardiovascular findings on chest CT scans requested to assess radiological signs suggestive of COVID-19 infection.

Methods

This cross-sectional, descriptive, and retrospective study reviewed 1,444 chest tomographies conducted in the Radiology department of the Hospital de Clínicas Gaspar Vianna, from March 1 to July 30, 2020, describing the prevalence of images suggestive of viral pneumonia by COVID-19 and incidental pulmonary and cardiovascular findings.

Results

The mean age of the patients was 50.6 ± 16.4 years and female sex was more frequent. Computed tomography without contrast was the most frequently used method (97.2%). Aortic and coronary wall calcification and cardiomegaly were the most prevalent cardiovascular findings. CT angiography revealed aortic aneurysms (9.7%), aortic dissection (7.3%) and thoracic aortic ulcers (2.4%).

Conclusions

Incidental cardiovascular findings occurred in about half of the chest CT scans of patients with suspected COVID-19, especially aortic calcifications, cardiomegaly, and coronary calcification.

Keywords:
incidental finding; cardiovascular finding; tomography; COVID-19

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