Second Wave Has Launched a Deadly Assault On Lungs
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Prakash Chandra, 59, did not have any symptoms of Covid-19 but got himself tested after his son tested positive. When his doctor insisted for a CT scan after his blood tests revealed high sugar levels and inflammatory markers, it was found that 50% of his lung was involved. Ahmedabad radiologists are busy with a high number of infected and suspected patients lining up for high-resolution CT (HRCT) of the thorax.

Doctors say CT score of the lungs is helping save many lives, especially in the current wave when the strain seems to be attacking lungs more ferociously than ever. Pulmonologist Dr Rahul Jalan, a city-based pulmonologist, said that in the post-Diwali wave in 2020, the average HRCT score was 6 to 8. “This time, it’s as high as 12 to 14 for average patients.

It’s not all – even at the lower score, the patients report hypoxia this time, pointing at the change in the virus profile,” he said. "Current strain seems to attack lungs more furiously. More young patients are found to have moderate to severe lung disease compared to earlier waves,” said senior radiologist Dr Hemant Patel.

~ HRCT score has doubled’

Radiologist Dr Amit Gupta said the average HRCT score has nearly doubled in the patients compared to the last wave Gujarat had seen in November. “Infectivity has increased – from 60% showing lung involvement in 2020, today 80% have lung damage,” he said.

What are its implications? The HRCT thorax – which shows clear (black) to completely infected (white) and has ground-glass opacity in between – also indicates lung capacity. Dr Manoj Singh, a city-based pulmonologist, said that this time around, the oxygen requirement has increased manifold due to higher involvement of the lungs. “Majority of the patients require oxygen support from day 1. It was not the case in the last surge – at least for the majority of patients,” he said.

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