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After a year, the Consequences of Excessive COVID-19 on the Lungs

Whilst short-term lung harm has been recorded in individuals hospitalized with pneumonia due to the serious acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), nothing is known about the longer-term consequences of this illness. A new study analyses data from individuals who were visited one year after discharge.

COVID-19 has been discovered to have a high prevalence of pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), both of which can cause lung damage, particularly fibrosis. This is linked to short-term problems, which can appear anywhere from 3-6 months after discharge and range in severity. Certain people, for example, have minor impairments. Some have exertional breathlessness.

What Did the Research Reveal?

The study comprised over 300 patients having SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, with over 90% of them being followed for at least a year. Supplemental oxygen alone, invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilation were used in about 60, 140, and 90 patients. No patients died in the second half of the research; however, five required re-admission.

Almost 70% of patients had never smoked, and around 80% had no or only one pre-existing medical problem. In both groups, the rates of pulmonary thromboembolism and deep vein thrombosis were modest and comparable.

What Are the Consequences?

The data reveal that lung fibrosis is a rare complication following SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, requiring hospitalization, with just 1% of patients demonstrating this problem 12 months post-discharge. Other modest interstitial findings, notably ground-glass opacities with reticular abnormalities, were seen in most cases, although only in a single lobe and to a limited extent.

Even while the cystic abnormalities and pneumatocele formation observed from the latter case weren’t identified here, it corroborates past accounts. Still, it does not assist in linking the origin of the harm to viral harm or alterations in lung pressure or volume after the IMV.

Age is a strong predictor of long-term radiological consequences. When these findings are combined with those of other studies, older patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia who require IMV must be closely monitored to detect long-term pulmonary sequelae, though not disregarding the other groups.

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