Covid-19 and lung deterioration: a worrisome form of the disease, warns a pulmonologist

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Lung injuries in Covid-19 patients are of particular concern to clinicians. This form of the disease affects 15 to 20% of patients, reveals pulmonologist François-Xavier Blanc in Franceinfo.

Damage to the nervous system, kidneys, heart. The list of complications from Covid-19 is long and one of them would be particularly worrying: lung damage. This is what François-Xavier Blanc, head of the pulmonology service at the University Hospital of Nantes, said on Franceinfo: it is "the form of Covid-19 that most concerns us doctors," he explained.

Lung damage: slow recovery

Between 15 and 20% of patients affected by Covid-19 would present this type of injury. A specific symptom would also allow them to be detected: difficulty breathing. A lung scan is then done to confirm the lesions. This form of the disease "can cause patients to be hospitalized," specifies the pulmonologist. And for good reason: In the most severe cases, patients with lung damage need oxygen.

While doctors have little perspective on the consequences of these lung injuries, Dr. François-Xavier Blanc explains that they are similar to those seen in severe flu. "And we know that this recovery can be quite slow and can extend over several months," he adds.

A sequel that must be carefully monitored

At the moment, there is no treatment available to get these patients back to their feet faster. "The great fear of pulmonologists is that these sequelae lead to a kind of pulmonary fibrosis, that is, a lung that would breathe worse, like a scar in this place", explains Dr. François-Xavier Blanc.

In the absence of a specific solution, long-term monitoring of these patients is recommended. "We offer, in particular, a systematic follow-up three months after the initial hospitalization, to those who had to be hospitalized due to lack of oxygen, to measure their lung capacity and see if there are sequelae or not, to eventually offer respiratory rehabilitation, or relearning to correct breathing ", specifies Dr. François-Xavier Blanc.

In an opinion issued last July, the National Academy of Medicine already highlighted the importance of monitoring the long-term evolution of the disease's sequelae, which includes respiratory and lung damage.

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