Covid-19 causes hidden lung damage: Study

Prashasti Awasthi December 03 | Updated on December 03, 2020 Published on December 03, 2020

Many studies have proven the devastating impact of the novel coronavirus in the respiratory tract and lungs.

Now, Oxford University researchers used a new scanning technique to further explore the hidden’ lung abnormalities caused by the Covid-19 infection.

The researchers observed the changes in the lungs of Covid-19 patients even three months after the infection. They added that damages were often left undetected during traditional scanning methods.

To explore further, the new method that they employed included MRI scans that use xenon gas to generate a clear picture of lung damage. It requires the patients to inhale xenon gas during the MRI scan.

The technique was developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK, led by Jim Wild, Professor of Magnetic Resonance Physics.

For the study, the researchers assessed 10 Covid-19 patients aged 19-69 using this new scanning technique. Eight patients suffered from shortness of breath and tiredness three months after the Covid-19 infection. However, none of them had received intensive care or ventilation and no lung damage was found during conventional health scans.

The new scans revealed signs of lung damage in these patients by exposing areas where the air did not flow easily into the blood.

Lead author, Fergus Gleeson, Professor of Radiology at the University of Oxford stated that the ‘hidden’ lung damage could be a factor behind long Covid, where people fall ill for months following infection despite seemingly ‘normal’ results from standard GP and hospital tests.

The researchers now intend to expand the scope of the study by assessing about 100 people who got infected with Covid-19 but were not admitted to hospital and did not suffer serious symptoms. They want to get more clarity on whether lung damage occurs, and if so, its extent and duration.

Another researcher Dr. Shelley Hayles stated that up to 10 per cent of those who have had Covid-19 might have some form of lung damage which could lead to prolonged symptoms.

The findings of the study were reported by the Health Site.

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Published on December 03, 2020
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