Autopsy of 10 Covid-19 people reveal lung, pancreas, kidney damage, and blood clot

Mumbai | Updated on August 23, 2020

The new post mortem report of 10 patients who were severely ill with the Covid-19 virus, revealed that the virus had caused major lung injury and kidney damage of the host’s body, as per the research published in Lancet Microbe.

The post mortem examination was carried out by Dr Brian Hanley from the Department of Cellular Pathology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and his team.Although the number of patients examined is small, this is the largest study to date of post-mortem examinations on Covid-19 patients in England.

Dr Hanley said as quoted in the Science Daily, “In the patients we looked at, we also saw evidence of kidney injuries and in some cases, pancreatitis.” The authors stated in their findings “lung injuries, thrombosis and immune cell depletion are the most prominent features in severe cases of Covid-19.”

The team performed full post-mortem examinations and biopsies on ten patients aged 22-97 at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals during March-June.

The study revealed that high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties — were the most common contributing factors to death.

All patients developed a fever and had at least two respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath during the early stages of the disease. Most patients died within three weeks of presenting with symptoms and treatments varied across the cohort.

The findings

The scientists noted six key findings of the post mortem examination. They observed that all patients had diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). DAD is a term used to describe a pattern of lung injury which can be seen as a result of viral infection. Nine of the ten patients had some form of thrombosis- blood clot in at least one major organ.

All patients had evidence of acute renal tubular injury — a kidney injury that can lead to kidney failure or damage, the authors mentioned. T-Lymphocyte Depletion (TLD) in the spleen and the lymph nodes was another consistent finding.

The researchers found evidence of acute pancreatitis in two of the patients. Acute pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed. The researchers also found evidence of rare fungal infection, in one of the patients, called Mucormycosis.

Published on August 23, 2020

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