Chinese researchers have found a frosted-glass-like cloudiness in the lungs of some recovered COVID-19 patients, suggesting permanent organ damage.
The numbers are hopeful: More than 80,000 people have now recovered from the lung disease COVID-19 . Because you had only a mild or moderate course of the disease and / or because you received good medical care. A pleasantly large number , but so far there is still comparatively little information on how they are doing after surviving the illness.
With great relief and joy, some of those who have recovered describe how they survived the physically and, above all, psychologically stressful period: curing the symptoms, the agonizing uncertainty, the grueling isolation phase. You are happy to be immune to SARS-CoV-2 after surviving the illness . The relief is often mixed with a great deal of thoughtfulness – also about the lack of need for many who have not yet been infected.
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Investigations over the next few months will show whether there may be occasional long-term effects in recovered COVID-19 patients. The main focus is on the lungs. Since the new SARS-CoV-2 pathogen mainly affects the lower respiratory tract, especially those infected with a moderate or severe course have a dry cough, shortness of breath and / or pneumonia.
Doctors in Hong Kong had found decreased lung function and persistent shortness of breath in some recovered coronavirus patients. Although they were only able to examine a comparatively small group, there are initial indications of possible long-term effects.
“In some patients, lung function could decrease by about 20 to 30 percent after recovery,” said Dr. Dr. Owen Tsang Tak-yin , the medical director of the Infectious Disease Center at Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong. “They gasp when they go a little faster.” A computed tomography scan found a frosted-glass-like cloudiness in the lungs of some patients, which suggests organ damage.
The findings from Hong Kong confirm very early studies from Wuhan from the beginning of February 2020. In a study , scientists from the Zhongnam Hospital of Wuhan University analyzed 140 lung scans from corona patients and found that all of them had a frosted-glass-like cloudiness in the lungs.
Suspected pulmonary fibrosis
Further examinations of the recovered COVID-19 patients must now show whether they have developed pulmonary fibrosis , in which the pulmonary connective tissue becomes inflamed. This leads to a pathological increase in the connective tissue between the alveoli and the surrounding blood vessels.
This makes it harder for oxygen to reach the blood vessels, stiffens the lungs, and makes breathing superficial and fast. Breathing disorders, shortness of breath and dry, dry cough are the consequences, physical performance decreases, and even everyday activities are difficult.