Severe influenza A (H1N1): The course of imaging findings

Dorith Shaham*, Naama R. Bogot, Galit Aviram, Ludmila Guralnik, Sivan Lieberman, Laurian Copel, Jacob Sosna, Allon E. Moses, Itamar Grotto, Dan Engelhard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel swine-origin influenza virus (influenza A/H1N1 2009) that began in Mexico was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in June 2009. The pandemic affected many countries, including Israel. Objectives: To compare the course of chest radiographic and computed tomography findings in patients who survived and those who died following admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) or intubation due to severe laboratory-confirmed swine-origin influenza A/H1N1 2009. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the patient records (267 radiographs, 8 CTs) of 22 patients (10 males, 12 females) aged 3.5-66 years (median 34) with confirmed influenza A/ H1N1 2009, admitted to the ICU and/or intubated in five major Israeli medical centers during the period July-November 2009. We recorded demographic, clinical, and imaging findings - including pattern of opacification, extent, laterality, distribution, zone of findings, and presence/absence of nodular opacities - at initial radiography and during the course of disease, and compared the findings of survivors and non-survivors. Statistical significance was calculated using the Wilcoxon (continuous variables) and Fisher exact tests. Results: The most common findings on the initial chest radiography were airspace opacities, which were multifocal in 17 patients (77%) and bilateral in 16 (73%), and located in the lower or lower and middle lung zones in 19 patients (86%). Large airspace nodules with indistinct margins were seen in 8 patients (36%). Twelve patients survived, 10 died. Patients who died had multiple background illnesses and were significantly older than survivors (P = 0.006). Radiologic findings for the two groups were not significantly different. Conclusion: Airspace opacities, often with nodular appearance, were the most common findings among patients with severe influenza A/H1N1 2009. The course of radiologic findings was similar in patients with severe influenza A/ H1N1 2009 who survived and those who died.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chest computed tomography
  • Chest radiography
  • Infectious diseases
  • Influenza a/H1N1 2009
  • Intensive care unit
  • Intubation
  • Pandemic


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