Impaired diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide is common in critically ill Covid-19 patients at four months post-discharge

Respir Med. 2021 Jun:182:106394. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2021.106394. Epub 2021 Apr 15.


There is limited knowledge about the long-term effects on pulmonary function of COVID-19 in patients that required intensive care treatment. Spirometry and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) were measured in 60 subjects at 3-6 months post discharge. Impaired lung function was found in 52% of the subjects, with reduced DLCO as the main finding. The risk increased with age above 60 years, need for mechanical ventilation and longer ICU stay as well as lower levels of C-reactive protein at admission. This suggests the need of follow-up with pulmonary function testing in intensive-care treated patients.

Keywords: ARDS; COVID-19; Diffusion capacity; Follow up; ICU treatment; Lung function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / physiopathology*
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity / physiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spirometry
  • Time Factors


  • Carbon Monoxide