The coronavirus may create a new lung disease in patients who have permanent lung damage from an infection. The Longfonds reports this on Wednesday morning. The organization takes into account a new group of patients.
“Although the peak in the number of infections is yet to come, it is already clear that some of the corona patients are left with permanent lung damage from the virus,” writes the Longfonds.
The coronavirus can have a major impact on a patient’s lungs. In case of an infection, the virus attaches itself to the airway wall, where an inflammatory reaction then develops. Your immune system then tries to expel the virus. If that doesn’t work, the virus can spread and get into your alveoli. Your body then continues to try to ward off the virus, but if that fails, more and more inflammatory cells are added. More alveoli become filled with inflammatory fluid. This leads to an oxygen shortage, which means that you no longer get air as a patient.
Because COVID-19 is a new virus, much is still unclear about future complaints from recovered patients. In particular, patients who end up in intensive care and need to be ventilated appear to be at risk of permanent damage.
“There may be inflammation that causes scar tissue on the lungs,” says pulmonologist Leon van der Toorn. “This could mean that many more people with lung problems will be added soon. A new lung disease will develop.”
In this video, pulmonologist Menno van den Eerden explains why the symptoms of a corona infection are usually more severe than with a normal flu.
Uncertainty about size of new group
The lung fund cannot yet estimate how large the new group of lung patients will be. The organisation’s advice line has already seen a large increase in the number of questions since the coronavirus reached the Netherlands, and takes account of a further increase because the peak in the number of infections is yet to come.
Lung fund director Michael Rutgers says the new lung disease is provisionally called Corona Obstructive Lung Disease (COLD). “We want to follow people with COLD for a long time for research.”
The Longfonds wants to use this to examine the consequences of a coronavirus infection on the lungs. The life of the patients after recovery is also examined. This should lead to a follow-up and treatment process, which should be started around next summer.
Follow the latest developments around the virus in our live blog.
The coronavirus in short
- The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
- You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
- An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
- The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
- Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
- Read here what precautions you should take.