Covid, one in three healed will have chronic respiratory problems: “It will be a new health emergency”


Being infected by the coronavirus it can lead to serious lung damage. The pulmonologist launches the alarm Luca Richeldi, a member of the Technical Scientific Committee, who warns that after the Covid-19 infection the lungs are at risk for at least six months and 30% of the recovered, almost one in three, will have chronic respiratory problems.Read also> Spallanzani: «37 positive patients, 8 with respiratory support»

The new worrying scenario comes from the meeting of the Italian Society of Pulmonology. Fibrotic outcomes, i.e. the scar left on the lung by Covid-19, can cause irreversible respiratory damage and will constitute a new pathology of tomorrow and “a new health emergency”, warns Richeldi. It will therefore be necessary to equip and reinforce the Pneumologies.

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The picture comes from the digital meeting organized by the Italian Society of Pneumology (SIP) with StemNet, the Federation of Stem Cell Research Associations and the Italian Mesenchymal Stem Group (GISM). The expert alert emerges from the comparison between the data observed after the 2003 SARS pneumonia, ‘cousin of the Covid pneumonia, and the first observational follow-up data of the coronavirus survivors. There is a belief among pulmonologists that in patients who have remained in hospitals and intensive care for a long time, recovery of respiratory function is long-term and, in severe cases, it may not be complete.

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Experts therefore warn: it is necessary to provide respiratory rehabilitation courses and adequate follow-up to understand which patients risk permanent damage. And the first post-Covid clinic that paves the way for the specific follow-up of patients has already been active in Pavia since April. Covid infection could therefore leave long-term consequences on respiratory function and sometimes irreversibly compromise it. Researchers and pulmonologists came to this conclusion by comparing the first follow-up data collected in our country and by Chinese doctors with the outcomes of patients affected by SARS in 2003. It is estimated that on average in an adult they can serve from 6 to 12 months for functional recovery, which for some, however, may not be complete.

After Covid-19 pneumonia, therefore, permanent alterations of the respiratory function could be frequent but above all widespread signs of pulmonary fibrosis: the respiratory tissue affected by the infection loses its characteristics and its normal structure, becoming rigid and not very functional, leading to chronic symptoms and the need, in some patients, for home oxygen therapy. Pulmonary fibrosis could therefore become tomorrow’s danger for many Covid-19 survivors and make it necessary to experiment with new therapeutic approaches, specialists conclude, such as treatments with mesenchymal stem cells.

Last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2020, 15:24


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