Radiographic features of COVID-19 in children—A systematic review

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Bergin, N.
Moore, N.
Doyle, S.
England, A.
McEntee, Mark F.
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INTRODUCTION: The SARS-CoV-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global problem but has affected the paediatric population less so than in adults. The clinical picture in paediatrics can be different to adults but nonetheless both groups have been subject to frequent imaging. The overall aim of this study was to comprehensively summarise the findings of the available literature describing the chest radiograph (CXR) findings of paediatric patients with confirmed COVID-19. The COVID-19 landscape is rapidly changing, new information is being constantly brought to light, it is therefore important to appraise clinicians and the wider scientific community on the radiographic features of COVID-19 in children. METHODS: Four databases, which included, PubMed; Medline; CINAHL; ScienceDirect were searched from the 30 November 2020 to the 5 March 2021. The review was conducted using the “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis, PRISMA” guidelines. Studies were included for (1) publications with full text available, (2) patients with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses, (3) CXR imaging features of COVID-19 were reported, (4) the age of patients was 0–18 years, (5) studies were limited to human subjects and (6) a language restriction of English was placed on the search. Quality assessment of included articles used the National of Health Quality Assessment Tool for Case Series Studies. RESULTS: Eight studies met our criteria for inclusion in the review. All eight studies documented the number of CXRs obtained, along with the number of abnormal CXRs. Seven out of the eight studies noted greater than 50% of the CXRs taken were abnormal. Opacification was the number one feature that was recorded in all eight studies, followed by pleural effusion which was seen in six studies. Consolidation and peri-bronchial thickening features were both evident in four studies. Opacification was sub-divided into common types of opacities i.e., consolidation, ground glass opacities, interstitial, alveolar and hazy. Consolidation was reported in half of the studies followed by ground glass opacities and interstitial opacities which was seen in three out of the eight studies. CONCLUSION: This systematic review provides insight into the common COVID-19 features that are seen on CXRs in paediatric patients. Opacification was the most common feature reported, with consolidation, ground glass and interstitial opacities the top three opacifications seen. Peri-bronchial thickening is reported. in the paediatric population but this differs from the adult population and was not reported as a common radiographic finding typically seen in adults. ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: This systematic review highlights the CXR appearances of paediatric patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-19, to gain insight into the disease pathophysiology and provide a comprehensive summary of the features for clinicians aiding optimal management.
Adolescent , Chest radiography , Chest X-ray , Child , Coronavirus , COVID-19 , CXR , Infant , Paediatric , SARS-CoV-2
Bergin, N., Moore, N., Doyle, S., England, A. and McEntee, M. F. (2022) 'Radiographic features of COVID-19 in children—A systematic review', Children, 9(11), 1620 (10pp). doi: 10.3390/children9111620