The aftermath in the most severe coronavirus patients: lung capacity

The new coronavirus has challenged science, which is learning as it goes about a virulent infectious agent that behaves like no other. In that context, and given the recent nature of the disease, medicine does not know the exact magnitude of the sequelae it may leave, but some patterns can already be advanced and the greatest concern is for the lungs.

Much scientific evidence is lacking. It’s a new virus. It’s only been two or three months since the first patients passed it on. We have some short term consequences and we sense some consequences but we don’t know if there will be others in the long term. What is already known is that some of those infected who developed more serious pneumonia now suffer from fibrosis. They are like scars that are accompanied by a loss of lung function. Some studies already put this loss between 10 and 30% and it is almost impossible to reverse these scars.

Another effect of COVID-19 that is being analyzed is possible pulmonary hypertension caused by a thromboembolism, or in other words, by the blockage of an artery in the lungs due to a clot coming from the venous system. At this point, however, there is some hope. The virus produces many thromboses but all patients admitted were given prophylaxis for venous thrombosis. Probably many of these complications have been avoided by such measures.

Both conditions, fibrosis and hypertension, can cause fatigue during daily activities and, although it is not very frequent, can turn into a chronic respiratory failure that makes oxygen treatment at home indispensable.