Covid-19 scars on the lung

More than 10% of the people who have had Covid-19 and have had to be hospitalized for this reason have some type of scar on the lung. A study published in the “American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine” shows that fibrotic lung damage, known as interstitial lung disease, which requires continuous follow-up care, is one of the most relevant post-covid complications.

Interstitial lung disease encompasses a broad group of diseases that are characterized by lung scarring, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This scarring makes it difficult to breathe and the supply of oxygen to the bloodstream. Lung damage from this group of diseases can be irreversible and worsen over time.

In the study, explains Iain Stewart, from Imperial College London (United Kingdom), it has been seen that up to 11% of patients hospitalized with covid, of different severity, “had a fibrotic patterno after recovery from acute illness.

Stewart adds that although “many people experience prolonged shortness of breath, the main implication of these findings is that a significant number of people discharged from hospital after being admitted to hospital for COVID may also have fibrotic abnormalities in the lungs.”

These results, he assures, “should help to focus efforts to closely monitor patients at risk. This follow-up should include repeated radiological images and pulmonary function tests.

More than 10% of people who have had Covid-19 and have had to be hospitalized for this reason have some type of scar on the lung

In the study, the authors examined evidence of abnormal lung patterns on follow-up CT scans of COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital, patterns that could be suggestive of interstitial lung disease.

The characteristics of the 209 study participants who underwent CT scans were applied to a larger post-hospitalization cohort of nearly 3,500 people without CT scans to stratify the risk of residual lung abnormalities.

For some people, the researcher says, “these fibrotic patterns may be stable or resolve, while for others they may lead to longer-term progression of pulmonary fibrosis, poorer quality of life, and shorter life expectancy. Early detection of progression is essential to improve outcomes.”


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