As the deadly coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the world, medical experts are learning more and more about the COVID-19 and what it does to the human lungs. The George Washington University Hospital Wednesday released a 3D image showing the damaged lungs of a COVID-19 patient. The hospital received a COVID-19-positive patient on March 25 and looked into his lungs using Virtual Reality (VR) technology. What they found was scary and concerning.
"What we're seeing is that there was rapid and progressive damage to the lungs so that he needed higher levels of support from that ventilator and it got to the point where he needed maximal support from the ventilator," said Dr Keith Mortman, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at GW Hospital.
GWUH was 1st in the nation to use @SurgicalTheater© virtual reality technology for lung patients. VR is now being used to assess patients with advanced COVID-19. Learn more with Dr. Keith Mortman, Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, at https://t.co/Vb7YaiqBAj. pic.twitter.com/A2sKUXwbgx— GWHospital (@GWHospital) March 24, 2020
COVID-19 can hamper the ability to breathe in the long term
Mortman said that the damage was severe and one doesn't need to be a medical professional to see it. The COVID-19, which has killed more than 20,000 people globally, severely damages lung tissues in both the lungs. "There is such a stark contrast between the virus-infected abnormal lung and the more healthy, adjacent lung tissue," said Dr Mortman.
"And it's such a contrast that you do not need an MD after your name to understand these images. This is something the general public can take a look at and really start to comprehend how severe the amount of damage this is causing the lung tissue. The damage we're seeing is not isolated to any one part of the lung. This is severe damage to both lungs diffusely."
What is even concerning is that the damage COVID-19 causes to the lungs of those who survive can be long-term and hamper their ability to breathe. "When that inflammation does not subside with time, then it becomes essentially scarring in the lungs, creating long-term damage," he said, adding that "it could impact somebody's ability to breathe in the long term."