COVID-19 causes long-term lung and heart damage, but many patients self-repair over time

Corona Virus

Patients contaminated with COVID-19 suffer from long-term heart and lung damage, however, for many, their situation improves with time, according to new research introduced on Monday.

Specialists from a pandemic hotspot in Austria reported on the primary 86 people enrolled in an ongoing study, highlighting their symptoms, lab test results, oxygen levels, and CT scans and echocardiogram findings, amongst different metrics.

During patients’ initial visits, almost 90% confirmed lung damage on their CT Scans, with more than half suffering respiration/breathing issues. However according to 12-week follow-up findings—introduced Monday on the virtual European Respiratory Society Worldwide Congress—lower than 60% of subsequent scans still revealed lung damage, with symptoms also improving.

“The bad news is that weeks after discharge from COVID-19, people show lung deterioration and the good news is that this deterioration improve over time, that suggests that the lungs show a mechanism to repair themselves”. co-investigator Sabina Sahanic, a medical PhD scholar on the University Clinic of Internal Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria, mentioned in an announcement.

Research continues to mount suggesting that COVID-19 might have lasting cardiovascular and even neurological impacts long after the recovery. For the present studies, Sahanic et al. included 86 patients with a median age of 61 enrolled between April 29 and June 9. Half of them were current or former smokers, whereas 21% have been admitted to intensive care—19% obtained mechanical ventilation.

CT scan scores indicating lung damage severity dropped from eight points through the initial six-week follow-up to four points at week 12, the authors reported. Inflammation and fluid buildup stemming from the virus, called ground glass, additionally improved from 88% of patients on the onset to 56% at 12 weeks.

What’s extra, echocardiograms confirmed that 58.5% of members had left ventricle heart disfunction at their six-week appointment. Whereas Sahanic et al. mentioned this diastolic abnormality is particular to COVID, the situation did improve with time.

The group also noted that wheezing, lung functioning, and coughing numbers all improved by the 12-week follow-up mark.

“The findings from this study present the significance of implementing structured follow-up care for patients with severe COVID-19 infection,” Sahanic added Sept. 6. “Importantly, CT scan unveiled lung damage on this patient group that was not recognized by lung function tests. Figuring out how patients have been affected long-term by the coronavirus may allow symptoms and lung damage to be treated much earlier and might need a major impact on further medical suggestions and recommendation.”