COVID-19 causes changes in the lungs that are found several months after infection

COVID-19 causes changes in the lungs that are found several months after infection

Lung lesions using magnetic resonance imaging can be detected in COVID-19 patients up to three months after infection, according to preliminary studies by British specialists. Other methods showed no damage.

The study used a new diagnostic technique involving the use of magnetic resonance and xenon gas inhaled by the patient during the test, reports BBC News. This method allows to better visualize the condition of the patient's lungs after COVID-19 - says Prof. Fergus Gleeson of Oxford University.

The first tests were carried out on a group of 10 patients aged 19-69. Eight of them experienced shortness of breath and symptoms of fatigue three months after the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.

None of these patients required hospitalization in the intensive care unit or ventilation during their illness. Traditional imaging methods also showed no changes in the lungs. Meanwhile, xenon combined with magnetic resonance imaging allowed to detect places in the lungs where the oxygen of the inhaled air does not penetrate properly into the bloodstream.

Prof. Gleeson announces that it will repeat the study on a larger group of 100 patients to see if similar changes in the lungs also occur in people who have been infected with the coronavirus, but did not require a hospital stay and had less severe COVID-19 symptoms. The specialist also intends to check how persistent the post covid abnormalities are and whether the lungs regenerate over time.

"I expected some lung damage to occur, but not to the extent that we observed," emphasizes the specialist. He adds that he wants to check whether they occur only in people over 60, or they occur in patients infected with coronavirus of all ages, even in those who did not require hospitalization.

Prof. Gleeson suspects that the lung damage following COVID-19 may be causing some people to feel unwell for several months. (PAP)

Author: Zbigniew Wojtasiński