Studies – Lung changes in asymptomatic COVID-19

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In new research developments, a team from Wuhan, China, reports that even asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 pneumonia have abnormal lung findings on computed tomography (CT), and a group from Beijing noted that viral loads from infected patients appear to peak 5 to 6 days after symptom onset.

Both reports appeared yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Images of disease at different points

The authors of the first study described chest CT findings from 42 men and 39 women admitted to one of two hospitals in Wuhan from December 20, 2019, to January 23, 2020, with COVID-19 pneumonia. All patients (mean age, 49.5 years) had a wide range of abnormal lung changes that spread rapidly from focused areas of excess fluid in one lung to diffuse buildup in both lungs.

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Bottom line:

In asymptomatic patients, 60% had abnormalities confined to one lung, while 90% of group 2 patients had abnormalities in both lungs. Those in groups 3 and 4 showed more mixed patterns and areas where fluid had replaced the air in the lung, leading to swelling and hardening of tissues.

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