Pulmonary fibrosis 4 months after COVID-19 is associated with severity of illness and blood leucocyte telomere length

Thorax. 2021 Apr 29;thoraxjnl-2021-217031. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-217031. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The risk factors for development of fibrotic-like radiographic abnormalities after severe COVID-19 are incompletely described and the extent to which CT findings correlate with symptoms and physical function after hospitalisation remains unclear. At 4 months after hospitalisation, fibrotic-like patterns were more common in those who underwent mechanical ventilation (72%) than in those who did not (20%). We demonstrate that severity of initial illness, duration of mechanical ventilation, lactate dehydrogenase on admission and leucocyte telomere length are independent risk factors for fibrotic-like radiographic abnormalities. These fibrotic-like changes correlate with lung function, cough and measures of frailty, but not with dyspnoea.

Keywords: COVID-19; imaging/CT MRI etc; interstitial fibrosis; respiratory measurement; viral infection.