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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 224-227

Sequelae of COVID-19 pneumonia: Is it correct to label everything as post-COVID lung fibrosis?

1 Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
M Garg
Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, PGIMER, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.jpgm_550_21

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One of the common long-term consequences observed in survivors of COVID-19 pneumonia is the persistence of respiratory symptoms and/or radiological lung abnormalities. The exact prevalence of these post-COVID pulmonary changes is yet unclear. Few authors, based on their early observations, have labeled these persistent computed tomography (CT) abnormalities as post-COVID lung fibrosis, which appears to be an overstatement. Lately, it is being observed that many of the changes seen in post-COVID lungs are temporary and tend to show resolution on follow-up, with only a few developing into lung fibrosis. Thus, based on the presumptive diagnosis of lung fibrosis, these patients should not be blindly started on anti-fibrotic drugs. One must not forget that these drugs can do more harm than good, if used injudiciously. It is better to use the term “post-COVID interstitial lung changes”, which covers a broader spectrum of pulmonary changes seen in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 pneumonia. At the same time, it is essential to identify the sub-set of COVID-19 survivors who are at an increased risk of developing lung fibrosis and to carefully chalk out management strategies so as to modify the course of the disease and prevent irreversible damage. Meticulous and systematic longitudinal follow-up studies consisting of clinical, laboratory, imaging, and pulmonary function tests are needed for the exact estimation of the burden of lung fibrosis, to understand the nature of residual pulmonary changes, and to predict the likelihood of development of lung fibrosis in COVID-19 survivors.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow