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’.