Trauma surgery said the lungs of recovering Covid-19 patients looked much worse even than those of smokers.
Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall, Associate Professor at the Health Sciences Center at Texas Tech University, has treated thousands of people with the disease since the outbreak began in March.
She said the x-rays of smokers’ lungs are a bit hazy, but the lungs of coronavirus patients are almost completely white – showing severe scarring and a lack of air entry into the organs.
She explained in a tweet on “Twitter”: “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but my” post-Covid “lungs look worse than any type of terrible smoker lung we’ve seen before.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but “post-Covid” lungs look worse than ANY type of terrible smoker’s lungs we’ve ever seen.
And they collapse. And they clot off.
And the shortness of breath lingers on… & on… & on.
— Brittany Bankhead-Kendall MD (@BKendallMD) January 4, 2021
Many health experts are focusing on mortality rates rather than the long-term effects for survivors, Bankhead-Kendall told CBS DFW.
Coronavirus often leads to complications such as pneumonia, which occurs when the lungs fill with fluid and become inflamed.
This disease is NOT just binary (where you’re asymptomatic, or die). There is a LOT of morbidity in-between, & what we’re afraid will turn into years of pulmonary problems. https://t.co/vt6syWJhpq
— Brittany Bankhead-Kendall MD (@BKendallMD) January 6, 2021
When the air sacs fill with fluid, they are unable to absorb the same amount of oxygen, resulting in symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.
Studies have also found damage to the epithelial cells that line the respiratory passages from the nose to the lungs of patients with the Coronavirus.
Bankhead-Kendall said every patient she had who had symptoms of the virus underwent severe x-rays. Among those without symptoms, severe results show between 70 and 80%.
She added, “There are still people who say: I’m fine, I don’t have any problems.”
To show the difference, Bankhead-Kendall shared with CBS DFW three X-ray models: one for a healthy patient, one for a smoker and one for a patient “Covid-19”.
X-rays show a healthy patient a large amount of black space, which means that the person is able to inhale a large amount of air. Meanwhile, the smoker’s X-ray shows white and cloudy lines, indicating inflammation and damage to the walls of the lungs or air sacs.
In comparison, the x-rays of the lungs of a “Covid-19” patient are almost completely white, which is known as lung opacities, which are hazy white clouds that contrast with the darkness of the lungs, which usually indicates that the lungs are filled with things such as fluids, bacteria or cells of the immune system.
This also means that the patient is unable to inhale as much oxygen, as is usual with a healthy lung.
“You will see a lot of those thick white scars or you will see them all over the entire lung,” Bankhead-Kendall said.
Some patients ended up with permanent lung damage or scarring, but it is not clear if this applies to all patients.
Public health experts say if you are still suffering from shortness of breath after recovering from “Covid-19”, it is important to contact your primary care physician immediately.
Source: Daily Mail