Survivors of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may suffer long-term lung damage and weakened lung capacity according to doctors with the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.
Out of 12 people in a group of former patients, two to three saw changes in their lung capacity. “They gasp if they walk a bit more quickly,” Owen Tsang Tak-yin, the medical director of the authority’s Infectious Disease Centre told South China Morning Post.
“Some patients might have around a drop of 20 to 30% in lung function” after full recovery, he said.
CT scans were performed on recovered coronavirus patients from a Hong Kong hospital. Nine of the scans showed air spaces with frosted-glass like patterns, indicating organ damage had occurred.
According to the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) in the UK, it can take some survivors up to 15 years to recover full lung function. Others can regain seemingly normal lung function in just half a year.
Owen Tsang stated that recovered patients could swim and do cardiovascular exercise to gradually improve their lung capacity.