A study by doctors at Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital shows that the lungs of the majority of COVID patients are likely to show signs of improvement within three months. This also extends to patients who contracted post-COVID pneumonia and the recovery extends to both structure and function of the lungs. This research study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, Lung India and now the team aims to expand the sample size for which almost 300 patients have been registered.
42 patients monitored over 5 months
This study had a sample size of 42 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia requiring oxygen therapy with acute respiratory syndrome and a positive COVID swab test. They were followed up over a period of five months to collect appropriate data on which these conclusions have been drawn.
Among these 42 patients, 26.2 percent (11) had moderate pneumonia and 73.8 percent (31) had severe pneumonia. Further, the mean age of all participants of this study was 58 years and their treatment, whose average duration was about 2 weeks, included Remdesivir and steroids.
The results of lung function tests and CT scans showed that the lungs of these patients recovered well and their functioning kept on getting better. It was also noted that the majority of them did not require oxygen, as the study completed three months. Similar consistent recovery among patients has also been seen among the cases registered in previous viral pandemics.
Takeaways from this study
Consultant of Pulmonary Medicine at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Dr. Sumeet Singhania, said in a statement- "There is no need for patients with mild to moderate COVID to panic about lung fibrosis as most will continue to get better with no major impact on their lifestyle. It is only in a very small number of patients who have very severe COVID that symptoms like breathlessness persist in the long run. But even in those patients, there will be an improvement with time."
This study also indicated that lung functions can improve without any anti-fibrotic therapy, thereby, indicating that every patient with COVID-19 infection need not be started on anti-fibrotic medication. In this regard, Dr. Singhania has been quoted saying- "Anti-fibrotic drugs can slow down the process of fibrosis and not reverse it, and while their role has been proven in chronic lung disease, they are not useful in acute pneumonia or ARDS.
-With inputs from IANS