COVID-19 Patients' Lungs Are Found To Repair Themselves

Dhir Acharya - Sep 11, 2020


COVID-19 Patients' Lungs Are Found To Repair Themselves

COVID-19 patients suffer from lung damages even after they have recovered from the disease with scars found on their lungs.

COVID-19 patients suffer from lung damages even after they have recovered from the disease with scars found on their lungs. It’s previously believed that their lungs will lose about 20% function and cannot fully recover.

However, a new study has some good news for these patients. It needs to be peer-reviewed but it looked into 82 severe patients that have recovered from COVID-19. The study evaluated the cardio-pulmonary damage on these patients at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks after discharge. The study was carried out in Austria from April to June.

How the coronavirus damages the lungs
How the coronavirus damages the lungs

The researchers compared CT scans of the patients’ lungs at the end of these time periods after discharge. The results show that the damage to the lungs decreased significantly.

At 6 weeks, through CT scan films, 88% of the severe cases showed signs of lung damage as ground glass. But at 12 weeks, 56% of them showed lung damage.

That means the lungs appeared to gradually recover themselves within weeks though they were still damaged at a certain rate. With an active pulmonary rehabilitation medical care, the lungs can probably recover even faster. Another study conducted in France confirmed these findings.

The researchers concluded:

“Patients, who spent less time bedridden between ICU and PR [pulmonary rehabilitation], recovered faster. These results show the importance of PR in patients post Covid-19, the sooner and the longer, the better.”

Severe COVID-19 cases have shown an increased recovery rate in their lungs
Severe COVID-19 cases have shown an increased recovery rate in their lungs

The French study indicated that there were improvements in the lungs of those recovered from COVID-19. The improvements were observed in muscle strength, lung capacity, levels of anxiety, and fatigue if they underwent pulmonary rehabilitation.

Both studies give us more hope that the lungs can fully recover from COVID-19 over time. This is also important because lung damages were found on even asymptomatic patients.

Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, also made a statement that further confirms these findings.

“People who carried out CT scans of asymptomatic cases found that in about 20-30 percent cases there were some patches in the lung when the cases were asymptomatic.”

However, he noted that in some cases, the lungs still had scars after recovering.

>>> Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine Released To The Public, Starts Trial In India This Month

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