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Long-term lung damage in COVID-19. Lung rehabilitation after recovery. 10
What do we know about longer-term damage to the lungs of patients who recovered from COVID-19? Especially for coronavirus patients who underwent a severe disease, perhaps mechanical ventilation? There is increasing data for so-called long haul COVID-19. And there is a discussion of pulmonary fibrosis. What do we know, at least from a lung-related perspective, of the long term situation after COVID-19 recovery?
Long-term COVID is something that has to be studied more in detail very thoroughly. And what we know is this. The minority of the COVID-19 patients have substantial organ damage, including lung fibrosis. There is also chronic myocarditis. But in most of the COVID-19 patients, we have a symptom complex, which is very unspecific, known as chronic fatigue.
What about rehabilitation after recovering from the COVID-19, from the lung’s perspective? Are there specific lung-related rehabilitation programs being developed? What is the view you as a lung specialist?
Yeah. There are special programs, which should include muscle force, muscle performance, but also respiratory muscles and breathing patterns. A very important issue is the neurocognitive deficits in long-term COVID-19 patients. So you need normal cognitive and psychological training.
For people in developing countries, maybe there is not a resource-rich environment. Is there anything they can do, perhaps to advise their relatives, maybe their elderly relatives who recovered from COVID-19? Are there any exercises they could do to improve their lung function?
Now, that’s a very difficult question. So what I think or we have seen it is this. If you are too early on exercise, after COVID-19 recovery, there could be a kind of relapse of the coronavirus disease. So going back to normal life should be very carefully done and should not be started too early.
That’s an important point to take time to recover fully. Professor Tobias Welte, thank you very much! That has been a fascinating conversation. Is there any question that I should have asked but didn’t ask? Is there anything you’d like to share with our viewers, whether it’s Coronavirus-related or not, from your enormous wisdom, perspective, and knowledge?
No, I think you asked everything important. I could make a lot of statements. So my final statement is there will be a time after COVID-19, a post-COVID-19 time. We should be optimistic to look into the future. So it’s real development. How fast coronavirus vaccines had come into the market. That shows what society can do in our time. And this makes me very optimistic.
That’s a great message of optimism. We’re very grateful to you for that. Professor Tobias Welte, thank you so much for speaking to us. And we hope to revert to you in the future as we gain more knowledge about Coronavirus vaccines. Also, perhaps to have an opportunity to discuss lung disease in general, because you have this tremendous research, clinical, and administrative leadership in respiratory diseases. So it’s very important to share with viewers around the world. Thank you very much!
Anton, thank you very much. A great pleasure to do this, and all my best to you and everybody worldwide. And greetings to the US!
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