ERS 2020 — COVID-19 survivors show structural pulmonary abnormalities for weeks after discharge


  • Deepa Koli
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway

  • COVID-19 survivors show persisting pulmonary impairment weeks after recovery with some improvement over time.

Why this matters

  • Despite 30% of survivors after severe acute respiratory syndrome-1 outbreak reporting structural pulmonary abnormalities for months, no structural follow-up data are available for patients recovered from COVID-19.

Study design

  • Study of 86 patients (mean age, 61 years) who recovered after moderate-to-critical COVID-19, followed up at weeks 6, 12, and 24.
  • Clinical examination, laboratory testing, blood gas analysis, lung function, thoracic CT, and echocardiography were performed at each follow-up visit.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • 48% of the patients had a smoking history.
  • At weeks 6 and 12 after discharge:
    • 47% and 39% of patients, respectively, had dyspnea.
    • 28% and 19% of patients, respectively, had impaired forced vital capacity.
    • 33% and 22% of patients, respectively, had low diffusing capacity of lungs for carbon monoxide.
    • CT imaging showed abnormalities related to COVID-19 in 88% and 56% of patients, respectively.
    • CT severity score improved from 8 to 4 points.
  • Patterns of pathological CT findings:
    • Ground-glass opacity, 88%.
    • Reticulation, 63%.
    • Consolidation, 10%.
    • Bronchiectasis, 13%.

Limitations  

  • Observational design.