Most lungs recover well in 3 months after Covid: Study

Researchers have revealed that lung tissue of patients who suffered severely from Covid-19 shows good recovery in three months in most cases.

The study from Radboud University in the Netherlands, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, included 124 patients who had recovered from acute Covid-19 infections.

Patients were divided into three categories for the study: a group with patients who were admitted to the ICU, a group of patients who were admitted to a nursing ward in the hospital, and finally a group with patients who could stay home but experienced persisting symptoms that eventually warranted a referral from their doctors.

The study assessed how patients fared after three months and revealed that the patients who were referred to the aftercare clinic by their doctors showed the worst recovery in the following period.

“The patients were examined by CT scan, a lung functional test and more,” the study authors wrote.

After three months, the researchers took stock, which revealed that the patients’ lung tissue is recovering well. Residual damage in the lung tissue was generally limited and is most often seen in patients who were treated in the ICU.

The most common complaints after three months are fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pains. Many people also still experience limitations in their daily life as well as a decreased quality of life.

“The patterns we see in these patients show similarities with recovery after acute pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), in which fluid accumulates in the lungs,” said study author Bram van den Borst.

“Recovery from these conditions also generally takes a long time. It is encouraging to see that lung after Covid-19 infections exhibit this level of recovery,” Borst added.

What is striking is that the research team barely found any anomalies in the lungs of these patients.

“Considering the variety and seriousness of the complaints and the plausible size of this subgroup, there is an urgent need for further research into explanations and treatment options,” Borst noted.