The lung tissue of patients who have suffered from COVID-19 in a serious manner shows good recovery in most cases. This was revealed by a study conducted by Radboud University Medical Center which has now been published in the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases”.
A striking finding from this research is that the group who were referred by a general practitioner did not recover as well as the patients admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). The study, led by pulmonologist Bram van den Borst, included 124 patients who had recovered from acute COVID-19 infection.
They visited the corona follow-up clinic at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. The patients were examined by CT scans and a lung function test, among other tests. After three months, the researchers took stock, which revealed that the patients’ lung tissue was recovering well.
Residual damage to lung tissue was generally limited and is seen more frequently in patients treated in intensive care. The most common complaints after three months are fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Many people also experience limitations in their daily life, as well as a reduced quality of life.
Principal investigator and pulmonologist Bram van den Borst explains: “The patterns we see in these patients show similarities to recovery from acute pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), in which fluid accumulates in the lungs for a long time. It is encouraging to see that the lungs after COVID-19 infections exhibit this level of recovery, ”he adds.
Patients were divided into three categories for the study: a group with patients admitted to the ICU, a group of patients admitted to a hospital nursing room, and finally a group with patients who were able to stay home but have persistent symptoms that ultimately warrant a referral from your GP.
The study assessed how the patients behaved after three months and found that patients who were referred to the post-treatment clinic by their GP showed the worst recovery in the following period. Of course, this latter group of patients were referred due to the persistence of symptoms.
“However, there appears to be a clear subset of patients who initially exhibited mild symptoms of COVID-19 and then continued to experience long-term persistent complaints and limitations,” says Bram van den Borst. the lungs of these patients.
Given the variety and severity of complaints and the plausible size of this subgroup, there is an urgent need for further research into the explanations and treatment options. Radboud University Medical Center established the Dekkerswald Corona Tracking Clinic in response to an observed increase in signs indicating that a significant number of COVID-19 patients were suffering from long-term complaints, ranging from coughing, fatigue and shortness of breath with anxiety and physical limitations.