A 3D medical imaging released by George Washington University Hospital in the US shows how quickly the novel coronavirus can spread through the lungs of a healthy person. The hospital used images from CT scans, usually used for cancer screenings or to plan surgeries, to create a 3D view of the lungs of a coronavirus patient, who had been asymptomatic a few days earlier.
The imagery, which was used for the first time to study the novel coronavirus, shows extensive damage to the lungs. After contracting the infection, rapid damage to the lungs occurred and the Washington patient was put on life support, CNN quoted Dr Keith Mortman, chief of thoracic surgery at George Washington University Hospital, as saying. Follow LIVE Updates
“Once damaged to this degree, the lungs can take a long time to heal. For approximately 2-4% (depending on which numbers you believe) of patients with COVID-19, the damage is irreversible and they will succumb to the disease,” CNN quoted Dr Keith Mortman as saying.
The scan shows that the damage isn’t localised to a single area and has fanned out to both the lungs, showing how quickly the infection can spread even in younger patients.
The COVID-19 primarily attacks the respiratory system in human beings and in severe cases leads to symptoms such as difficulty in breathing. However, most cases are mild and cause little more than a cough if it stays in the nose and throat. Danger starts when it reaches the lungs.
When the virus infects deeper tissues, strong inflammation in the lungs takes place, making it difficult to breathe. Inflammation prevents the lungs from being able to oxygenate the blood and to remove carbon dioxide.
In such cases, patients have to be placed in ventilators, which helps a patient breathe when they are unable to do so on their own. One in seven patients develops difficulty breathing and other severe complications, while 6% become critical, the World Health Organisation has said in a report.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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