- 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 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.
- 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%.
- Observational design.