Patients hospitalized with a severe coronavirus infection had lung damage and breathing problems weeks after leaving the hospital, according to a report on Sunday.
Researchers in Austria released preliminary results from a study that tracked 86 coronovirus patients following their release from the hospital following a severe coronovirus infection.
It was found that six weeks after discharge, a CT scan determined that 88 percent of patients still had signs of lung damage, while 47 percent experienced shortness of breath, according to the Guardian. During that timeframe, 24 patients had less than 80 percent of the amount of lung available for breathing compared to the average person.
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The research involved Dr. of the University Clinic in Innsbruck. Sabina Sahanik said, “Kovid-19 survivors have weeks of lung debilitation after recovery.”
The study examined patients at six weeks after scans, lung function measurements and clinical examinations, and again at 12 weeks. More than 60 percent of the patients were male, about 50 percent were current or former smokers, and 65 percent were overweight or obese.
The Guardian reported that evidence of lung damage was still prevalent at the 12-week mark, although it was reduced by 32 percent compared to the 6-week assessment, while breathlessness symptoms were down eight percent.
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Eighteen patients were hospitalized in intensive care, and suffered the most severe lung damage at the time of their release. However, the study found that health problems were still visible whether the patients were in the ICU and the rate of improvement was similar in both hospitalized patients.
Some patients also showed signs of heart damage, although their condition improved over the course of the study.
“The Austrian study reported short-term follow-up results in a hospitalized cohort that showed evidence of both heart and lung impairment in a large proportion of patients at 12 weeks from discharge,” Tom Wilkinson, Respiratory Professor and consultant said medicine at the University of Southampton, according to the paper.
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“Whenever there will be patients who later recover fully from it, many cannot, and this indicates the need for better strategies to prevent and treat Kovid-19,” he continued .