Researchers observe lung recovery even in critically ill Covid-19 patients after 3 months

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 27, 2020 Published on November 27, 2020

The residual damage in the lung tissue was generally limited

According to a study carried out by the researchers at Radboud University, most cases of critically ill Covid-19 patients show signs of recuperating lung tissue.

The researchers through their study found that the group which was referred by a GP did not recover as well as patients who were admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

For the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the researchers examined 24 patients who had recovered from acute Covid-19 infections.

The researchers divided the patients into three cohorts — a group who were admitted to the ICU, patients who were admitted to a nursing ward in the hospital, and those who could stay home but experienced persisting symptoms that eventually warranted a referral from their GP. The study assessed how patients were doing three months after Covid-19.

The researchers carried a CT scan and a lung function test to see the damaged lung tissue after Covid-19 recovery.

After three months, the researchers took stock, which revealed that the patients’ lung tissue is recovering well.

The researchers observed that the residual damage in the lung tissue was generally limited, and was most often seen in patients who were treated in the ICU.

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According to the study, the most common complaints after three months are fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pains.

Pulmonologist Bram van den Borst said: “The patterns we see in these patients show similarities with recovery after acute pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), in which fluid accumulates in the lungs.”

He added: “Recovery from these conditions also generally takes a long time. It is encouraging to see that lungs after Covid-19 infections exhibit this level of recovery.”

The patients who were referred to the after-care clinic by their GP showed the worst recovery in the following period, the researchers said.

This latter group of patients was referred to because of their persisting symptoms. “However, it does seem that there is a clear subgroup of patients who initially experienced mild Covid-19 symptoms and later kept experiencing persistent long-term complaints and limitations,” van den Borst explained.

“What is striking is that we barely found any anomalies in the lungs of these patients. Considering the variety and seriousness of the complaints and the plausible size of this subgroup, there is an urgent need for further research into explanations and treatment options,” he said.

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Published on November 27, 2020
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