- Open Access
One of the many faces of COVID-19 infection: an irregularly shaped pulmonary nodule
Insights into Imaging volume 12, Article number: 48 (2021)
We read with great interest the educational review article titled ‘COVID-19 pneumonia: the great radiological mimicker’ by Duzgun et al.  in the November 2020 issue of Insights into Imaging. We agree with the authors that COVID-19 infection may mimic other airspace disorders on imaging. It is well known that the most common computed tomography (CT) finding of COVID-19 pneumonia is bilateral ground-glass opacity (GGO) with accompanying consolidation. However, the differentiation of COVID-19 infection with other disorders may not be straightforward due to various imaging findings. The incidence rate of irregular shaped solid nodules on CT scans of patients with COVID-19 infection has been reported as 3–12% in the literature [2,3,4]. We would like to share a challenging case of COVID-19 pneumonia presented with unusual imaging findings.
A 57-year-old smoker male patient presented to the emergency department with a 4-day history of cough and joint pain. His past medical history was unremarkable except for chronic kidney disease. Physical examination revealed abnormal lung sounds. The subsequent blood tests demonstrated lymphopenia (700/µl) and elevated level of C-reactive protein (10 mg/l). Chest CT was performed following polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test positivity for COVID-19 infection. An irregularly shaped solid nodule 2 cm in diameter was found in left upper lobe of the lung along with the CT findings compatible with COVID-19 pneumonia (Fig. 1a, b). Primary lung cancer could not be excluded with the imaging findings per se, in a smoker patient. According to the Fleischner Society 2017 guidelines , percutaneous transthoracic core needle biopsy was planned after the quarantine period ended. On pre-procedure CT scan, the nodule appeared to be decreasing in size with associated subpleural lines (Fig. 1c). Percutaneous biopsy procedure was avoided, and a follow-up CT was recommended. The follow-up CT scan obtained after 3 months revealed complete resolution of the nodule (Fig. 1d).
In conclusion, CT is an indispensable tool in patients with clinical suspicion of COVID-19 infection. Imaging plays a significant role in the diagnosis and also evaluation of treatment response in COVID-19 infection. However, COVID-19 infection may result in various imaging findings since it is the great radiological mimicker as reported by Duzgun et al. . Despite being rare, solitary pulmonary nodules with irregular margins are one of the many faces of COVID-19 infection. In the presented case, a pleural tag which gives rise to suspicion of organizing pneumonia was also observed on CT . Spontaneously regressing solitary pulmonary nodule may be associated with organizing pneumonia which has been shown to occur secondary to COVID-19 infection .
Availability of data and materials
Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.
Coronavirus disease 2019
Polymerase chain reaction
Duzgun SA, Durhan G, Demirkazik FB, Akpinar MG, Ariyurek OM (2020) COVID-19 pneumonia: the great radiological mimicker. Insights Imaging 11(1):1–15
Ai T, Yang Z, Hou H et al (2020) Correlation of chest CT and RT-PCR testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China: a report of 1014 cases. Radiology 296(2):E32–E40
Ye Z, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Huang Z, Song B (2020) Chest CT manifestations of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a pictorial review. Eur Radiol 30(8):4381–4389
Pan Y, Guan H, Zhou S et al (2020) Initial CT findings and temporal changes in patients with the novel coronavirus pneumonia (2019-nCoV): a study of 63 patients in Wuhan, China. Eur Radiol 30(6):3306–3309
MacMahon H, Naidich DP, Goo JM et al (2017) Guidelines for management of incidental pulmonary nodules detected on CT images: from the Fleischner society 2017. Radiology 284(1):228–243
Akira M, Yamamoto S, Sakatani M (1998) Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia manifesting as multiple large nodules or masses. AJR Am J Roentgenol 170(2):291–295
Pogatchnik BP, Swenson KE, Sharifi H, Bedi H, Berry GJ, Guo HH (2020) Radiology-pathology correlation in recovered COVID-19, demonstrating organizing pneumonia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 202(4):598–599
Consent for publication/consent to participate
Informed consent was obtained from the patient.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Arslan, S., Ünal, E. One of the many faces of COVID-19 infection: an irregularly shaped pulmonary nodule. Insights Imaging 12, 48 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13244-021-00987-7