Many cured patients of Covid developing lung fibrosis: Docto
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Doctors of at least three dedicated Covid hospitals in the city have detected a worrying trend of cured Covid-19 patients returning a few weeks later with lung fibrosis — scarring of tissues leading to breathlessness, chronic coughing and weakness.

Dr Sanjeev Kumar, nodal officer for Covid-19 at AIIMS-P, said around 100 recovered Covid-19 patients have come back to the hospital with these symptoms, which after diagnosis turned out to be pulmonary or lung fibrosis.

“Lung fibrosis is the scarring in the lung tissue, which develops as a response to inflammation due to the Covid-19 infection. It is the most common respiratory ailment faced by Covid-19 patients post-recovery,” Dr Sanjeev told ET.

He added, “Post-Covid fibrosis stiffens the lung tissues and makes it harder for the patient to breathe properly, sometimes requiring oxygen support. Under normal conditions, the fibrosis is reversible in most patients and they recover with medications. However, it can be severe in patients who already have some previous respiratory ailments.”

According to Dr Samarendra Jha, assistant professor of respiratory medicine at PMCH, one in four recovered patients are likely to develop this condition.

“According to empirical evidence as of now, around 25 to 30% of recovered Covid-19 patients will go on to develop lung fibrosis. Hence, one should take all necessary precautions and avoid catching the covid-19 virus in the first place,” Dr Jha said, adding, it is a chronic condition and hampers the day-to-day activities of a patient.

Confirming the occurrence of the post-covid respiratory ailment, pulmonologist Dr Vijan Sharan said, “Post-covid lung fibrosis is a clinically established fact. As per my observation, in about one-third of Covid-19 cases, some form of pulmonary fibrosis develops. ”

Dr Satyajit Singh of Ruban Hospital said, “We have seen two to three cases of post-Covid lung fibrosis in our hospital so far. Cases might increase in the coming days as more patients have been discharged recently.”

Since it’s a relatively new phenomenon, doctors in the city are contemplating over the line of treatment to be followed for post-Covid lung fibrosis. “We are thinking of administering a drug widely used to treat lung cancer to patients developing lung fibrosis,” said Dr Sanjeev of AIIMS-P.

Health experts claim that early diagnosis, swift treatment, adequate hydration and use of vitamin C and zinc supplements can help prevent post-covid fibrosis.
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