Dr. Keith Mortman, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, created a virtual rendering of lungs from an actual patient being treated at the hospital. Mortman thinks the

How does the new coronavirus affect the lungs?

FYI, from Healthline:

“Some people may only have minor respiratory symptoms, while others develop non-life-threatening pneumonia. But there’s a subset of people who develop severe lung damage.

What we’re frequently seeing in patients who are severely ill with [COVID-19] is a condition that we call acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS,” said Dr. Laura E. Evans, a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine Leadership Council and an associate professor of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

ARDS doesn’t happen just with COVID-19. A number of events can trigger it, including infection, trauma, and sepsis. These cause damage to the lungs, which leads to fluid leaking from small blood vessels in the lungs. The fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs, or alveoli. This makes it difficult for the lungs to transfer oxygen from the air to the blood.

While there’s a shortage of information on the type of damage that occurs in the lungs during COVID-19, a recent report suggests it’s similarTrusted Source to the damage caused by SARS and MERS.

One recent studyTrusted Source of 138 people hospitalized for COVID-19 found that on average, people started having difficulty breathing 5 days after showing symptoms. ARDS developed on average 8 days after symptoms.

Treatment for ARDS involves supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, with the goal of getting more oxygen into the blood.

“There isn’t a specific treatment for ARDS,” Evans said. “We just support the person through this process as best we can, allowing their bodies to heal and their immune system to address the underlying events.””

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