Pulmonary Sequelae of COVID-19: Focus on Interstitial Lung Disease

Cells. 2023 Sep 8;12(18):2238. doi: 10.3390/cells12182238.


As the world transitions from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, a novel concern has arisen-interstitial lung disease (ILD) as a consequence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This review discusses what we have learned about its epidemiology, radiological, and pulmonary function findings, risk factors, and possible management strategies. Notably, the prevailing radiological pattern observed is organising pneumonia, with ground-glass opacities and reticulation frequently reported. Longitudinal studies reveal a complex trajectory, with some demonstrating improvement in lung function and radiographic abnormalities over time, whereas others show more static fibrotic changes. Age, disease severity, and male sex are emerging as risk factors for residual lung abnormalities. The intricate relationship between post-COVID ILD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) genetics underscores the need for further research and elucidation of shared pathways. As this new disease entity unfolds, continued research is vital to guide clinical decision making and improve outcomes for patients with post-COVID ILD.

Keywords: COVID-19; interstitial lung disease; post-COVID ILD; pulmonary fibrosis; residual lung abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / complications
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.