Fatal pulmonary fibrosis: a post-COVID-19 autopsy case

J Clin Pathol. 2020 Jul 28;jclinpath-2020-206879. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2020-206879. Online ahead of print.


There is growing evidence of histopathological changes in autopsied individuals infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2); however, data on histopathological changes in autopsied patients with eradicated COVID-19 are limited. We performed an autopsy on a Caucasian female in her 80s, who died due to severe, bilateral pulmonary fibrosis after eliminated SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, CT scans from 2 months before infection and from 6 days prior to death were compared. Comparison of the CT scans showed bilateral development of widespread fibrosis in previously healthy lungs. Microscopic examination showed different areas with acute and organising diffuse alveolar damage and fibrosis with honeycomb-like remodelling and bronchial metaplasia. We here report a unique autopsy case with development of widespread pulmonary fibrosis in a woman in her 80s with previous COVID-19 and no history of pulmonary illnesses.

Keywords: fibrosis; infections; lung; pathology; surgical.