COVID-19 impact: One-third of virus-infected, hospitalised patients show lung effects even after a year

By: |
May 11, 2021 12:55 PM

The impact of viral strain on lungs in severe cases can last a while. In some cases, even after a year, lung infection persists.

The study investigates history and changes among patients who have been discharged one year ago and sees how they have recovered from severe Covid-19 pneumonia.

There is no doubt that Coronavirus infection is indeed a serious problem be it cases of mild, moderate or severe symptoms. With even mild symptoms, lung infection can be clearly seen. The impact of viral strain on lungs in severe cases can last a while. In some cases, even after a year, lung infection persists. A new study by the University of Southampton has been published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, where researchers have claimed that there is still evidence of effects on lungs one year after the person was infected with the Covid-19.

This, according to the journal, is usually among one-third of the total patients who had been hospitalised on the back of viral infection and faced severe symptoms. To be sure, the need for hospitalisation comes at a time when lung functioning is impacting- difficulty in breathing, low oxygen saturation levels in the body. Also known as the case of Covid-induced pneumonia, patients suffering because of it usually need other treatments including oxygen support, when compared to those with mild symptoms who can be treated at home with medications.

Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak, researchers are trying to understand how long it takes for patients to recover completely after Covid-19 pneumonia and there is no clarity on whether the changes in lungs persist after the patient is discharged from hospitals. The study investigates history and changes among patients who have been discharged one year ago and sees how they have recovered from severe Covid-19 pneumonia.

Around 83 patients were taken in consideration after their discharge from hospitals post severe Covid-19 pneumonia. Follow-ups were done after three months, six months, nine months and twelve months. At an interval of every three months, clinical assessment was done and how well their lungs function was assessed. In order to do this, a CT scan of their chest as well as a walking test was done that allowed researchers to study the changes and impact.

One year down the line, while most patients showed improvement in symptoms and their capacity to exercise. Even Covid-related CT changes were improved and a majority of patients exhibited complete recovery. However, there were still some cases where patients reported breathlessness.

People still showing reduction in lung function were one-third of the total patients studied by the researchers. Moreover, the change as well as efficiency in oxygen transfer from the lungs into the blood was noted more frequently in women when compared to men. CT-scans of these patients showed that there were still small areas in the lungs that showed change. While the study has been conducted among a limited set of patients, the researchers claim this to be an important implication. For confirmed results, more findings and additional studies are needed.

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