Pathological Findings and Management of COVID-19 Patients: A Brief Overview of Modern-day Pandemic

Cureus. 2020 May 15;12(5):e8136. doi: 10.7759/cureus.8136.


Today the world is facing one of the deadliest pandemics caused by COVID-19. This highly transmissible virus has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days. It acts by attaching to the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) with the help of glycoprotein spikes, which it uses as a receptor. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR; rt-PCR) is the gold standard diagnostic test, and chest X-ray and computed tomography (CT) scan are the other main investigations. Several medications and passive immunization are in use to treat the condition. We searched using PubMed and Google Scholar using keywords such as COVID-19, coronavirus, and their combination with pathological findings, clinical features, management, and treatment to search for relevant published literature. After the removal of duplications and the selection of only published English literature from the past five years, we had a total of 31 papers to review. Most of the COVID-19 affected patients have mild pneumonia symptoms, and those with severe disease have comorbidities. Patients with COVID-19 had pathological findings, like ground-glass opacities, consolidations, pleural effusion, lymphadenopathy, and interstitial infiltration of inflammatory cells. Radiological changes show lung changes such as consolidations and opacities, and the pathological findings were infiltration of inflammatory cells and hyalinization. Patients with mild symptoms should self-quarantine, whereas those with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are treated in the hospital. Medications under trial include antivirals, antibacterials, antimalarials, and passive immunization. Supportive treatment such as oxygen therapy, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and ventilator support can also be used. The symptoms shown by patients are very mild and self-limiting. There is no definitive treatment, although a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have shown good results, and passive immunization also shows promising results, their safety profile is yet to be studied in detail.

Keywords: ards; corona pandemic; coronavirus; covid-19; hydroxychloroquine; pandemic; passive immunization; viral pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Review