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      A Dangerous Consequence of the Recent Pandemic: Early Lung Fibrosis Following COVID-19 Pneumonia – Case Reports

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          The outbreak of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) started in China in December 2019. COVID-19 patients at presentation show a wide spectrum of clinical and pathological involvement. We report two cases of respiratory insufficiency due to COVID-19 pneumonia that occurred in adults without a history of respiratory diseases. Although these patients improved and were discharged from the acute ward, during the hospitalization they both progressed with a subsequent clinical and radiological worsening, pointing out one of the main concerns for these patients at discharge: the possibility of developing persistent lung abnormalities also in healthy people not having other risk factors. In conclusion, these cases represent two examples of early lung fibrosis in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia with different severity disease evolution and highlight the need for long-term follow-up strategies. The etiology of this fibrosis is under discussion: we suppose that it could be due to either a possible outcome of natural history of lung damage produced by ARDS, or to the lung injury related to high oxygen level or to the lung damage directly induced by viral infection or finally to the autoimmune response. At this moment, it is not possible to predict how many people will have consequences due to COVID-19 pneumonia, and therefore we believe that careful follow-up should be mandatory.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China

          Abstract Background Since December 2019, when coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) emerged in Wuhan city and rapidly spread throughout China, data have been needed on the clinical characteristics of the affected patients. Methods We extracted data regarding 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 from 552 hospitals in 30 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in mainland China through January 29, 2020. The primary composite end point was admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), the use of mechanical ventilation, or death. Results The median age of the patients was 47 years; 41.9% of the patients were female. The primary composite end point occurred in 67 patients (6.1%), including 5.0% who were admitted to the ICU, 2.3% who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation, and 1.4% who died. Only 1.9% of the patients had a history of direct contact with wildlife. Among nonresidents of Wuhan, 72.3% had contact with residents of Wuhan, including 31.3% who had visited the city. The most common symptoms were fever (43.8% on admission and 88.7% during hospitalization) and cough (67.8%). Diarrhea was uncommon (3.8%). The median incubation period was 4 days (interquartile range, 2 to 7). On admission, ground-glass opacity was the most common radiologic finding on chest computed tomography (CT) (56.4%). No radiographic or CT abnormality was found in 157 of 877 patients (17.9%) with nonsevere disease and in 5 of 173 patients (2.9%) with severe disease. Lymphocytopenia was present in 83.2% of the patients on admission. Conclusions During the first 2 months of the current outbreak, Covid-19 spread rapidly throughout China and caused varying degrees of illness. Patients often presented without fever, and many did not have abnormal radiologic findings. (Funded by the National Health Commission of China and others.)
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            Dexamethasone in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 — Preliminary Report

            Abstract Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is associated with diffuse lung damage. Glucocorticoids may modulate inflammation-mediated lung injury and thereby reduce progression to respiratory failure and death. Methods In this controlled, open-label trial comparing a range of possible treatments in patients who were hospitalized with Covid-19, we randomly assigned patients to receive oral or intravenous dexamethasone (at a dose of 6 mg once daily) for up to 10 days or to receive usual care alone. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality. Here, we report the preliminary results of this comparison. Results A total of 2104 patients were assigned to receive dexamethasone and 4321 to receive usual care. Overall, 482 patients (22.9%) in the dexamethasone group and 1110 patients (25.7%) in the usual care group died within 28 days after randomization (age-adjusted rate ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 0.93; P<0.001). The proportional and absolute between-group differences in mortality varied considerably according to the level of respiratory support that the patients were receiving at the time of randomization. In the dexamethasone group, the incidence of death was lower than that in the usual care group among patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation (29.3% vs. 41.4%; rate ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.81) and among those receiving oxygen without invasive mechanical ventilation (23.3% vs. 26.2%; rate ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.94) but not among those who were receiving no respiratory support at randomization (17.8% vs. 14.0%; rate ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.55). Conclusions In patients hospitalized with Covid-19, the use of dexamethasone resulted in lower 28-day mortality among those who were receiving either invasive mechanical ventilation or oxygen alone at randomization but not among those receiving no respiratory support. (Funded by the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research and others; RECOVERY ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04381936; ISRCTN number, 50189673.)
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              Effective treatment of severe COVID-19 patients with tocilizumab

              Significance In patients with coronavirus disease 2019, a large number of T lymphocytes and mononuclear macrophages are activated, producing cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), which bind to the IL-6 receptor on the target cells, causing the cytokine storm and severe inflammatory responses in lungs and other tissues and organs. Tocilizumab, as a recombinant humanized anti-human IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody, can bind to the IL-6 receptor with high affinity, thus preventing IL-6 itself from binding to its receptor, rendering it incapable of immune damage to target cells, and alleviating the inflammatory responses.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                29 October 2020
                : 16
                : 1039-1046
                [1 ]Department of Medical Specialties, Pneumology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia , Reggio Emilia, Italy
                [2 ]Unit of Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Advanced Biotechnologies, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia , Reggio Emilia, Italy
                [3 ]Department of Radiology, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia , Reggio Emilia, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Chiara Scelfo Email chiara.scelfo@ausl.re.it
                © 2020 Scelfo et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 31, Pages: 8
                Case Series


                covid-19, pulmonary fibrosis, critical care, viral disease, computed tomography, follow-up


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