Increase in lung scarring or fibrosis, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 2020

Leading lung fibrosis charity Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis are concerned that we could see an increase in lung scarring or fibrosis, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global pandemic is unprecedented. This is the first time so many people have acquired an acute lung injury in the form of COVID-19. Reasons for the potential rise in pulmonary fibrosis:

  • Patients with severe COVID-19 are often ventilated, which is an invasive procedure and can result in lung damage and fibrosis.
  • Some COVID-19 patients are admitted to hospital with undiagnosed lung fibrosis, which is picked up during lung scans. This is important as COVID-19 seems to affect more men over 70 years of age. This is the same demographic who suffer from the most common form of lung fibrosis - idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis     (IPF).
  • Pre-existing lung fibrosis is likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19 and associated treatments.

Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis is calling for urgent research to determine how many people recovering from COVID-19 infection have developed fibrosis and to identify those with progressive lung fibrosis, like IPF, who will need long-term care.

Charities like Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis that support everyone affected Pulmonary Fibrosis will be needed more than ever as we plan for the ’new normal’.

Learn more about pulmonary fibrosis.