INTRODUCTION: Computer-Aided Lung Informatics for Pathology Evaluation and Ratings (CALIPER) software has already been widely used in the evaluation of interstitial lung diseases (ILD) but has not yet been tested in patients affected by COVID-19. Our aim was to use it to describe the relationship between Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcome and the CALIPER-detected pulmonary vascular-related structures (VRS).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a multicentric retrospective study enrolling 570 COVID-19 patients who performed a chest CT in emergency settings in two different institutions. Fifty-three age- and sex-matched healthy controls were also identified. Chest CTs were analyzed with CALIPER identifying the percentage of VRS over the total lung parenchyma. Patients were followed for up to 72 days recording mortality and required intensity of care.
RESULTS: There was a statistically significant difference in VRS between COVID-19-positive patients and controls (median (iqr) 4.05 (3.74) and 1.57 (0.40) respectively, p = 0.0001). VRS showed an increasing trend with the severity of care, p < 0.0001. The univariate Cox regression model showed that VRS increase is a risk factor for mortality (HR 1.17, p < 0.0001). The multivariate analysis demonstrated that VRS is an independent explanatory factor of mortality along with age (HR 1.13, p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that VRS increases with the required intensity of care, and it is an independent explanatory factor for mortality.
KEY POINTS: • The percentage of vascular-related structure volume (VRS) in the lung is significatively increased in COVID-19 patients. • VRS showed an increasing trend with the required intensity of care, test for trend p< 0.0001. • Univariate and multivariate Cox models showed that VRS is a significant and independent explanatory factor of mortality.