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This single-center retrospective study of 215 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia found that the majority of survivors had forced expiratory capacity in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) within normal limits, whereas almost 25% had a lowered diffusion capacity. Patients with reduced diffusion capacity were mostly female, had a higher prevalence of tobacco use history, and had more severe pneumonia with higher levels of C-reactive protein and D-dimer.
Although limited by its single-center design and small sample size, this study suggests that perhaps survivors of COVID-19 pneumonia may be at risk for impaired diffusion capacity. Further study is warranted in larger, more diverse settings to determine the optimal evaluation and management of patients who recover from COVID-19 pneumonia.
– Amy S. Korwin, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
As of December 22, more than 71 million cases of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) have been reported worldwide (1). After the acute phase, millions of patients will require follow-up for potential respiratory sequelae, among others. This will put a strain on the pulmonary function test (PFT) laboratories. Small few descriptive reports, with a hundred patients or less, have been published showing a considerable prevalence of altered diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) % in survivors (2–4). However, it is unknown which clinical variables might be associated with the alteration of diffusion capacity after COVID-19. This work aims to identify clinical variables during the acute phase related with DLCO values in COVID-19 survivors in the follow-up.