The World Health Organization (WHO) released a shocking video showing the lung damage of man who was a COVID-19 asymptomatic patient just days earlier.
Dr. Keith Mortman of the George Washington University Hospital said that the patient’s lungs are failing and no longer functioning properly since his illness from the coronavirus progressed.
The patient is a 59-year-old male who is generally healthy but has high blood pressure. He’s currently on a ventilator to help him breathe, but as his lungs continue to fail, even the highest setting on the machine isn’t giving him relief.
“This is not a 70, 80-year-old immunosuppressed, diabetic patient,” Mortman said.
The video shows scans of the lung damage with infected and inflamed areas highlighted in yellow. According to the doctor, the lungs normally seal the virus off upon an infection. However, the video revealed that both lungs have considerable damage.
“If we were to repeat the 360VR images now, that is one week later, there is a chance that the infection and inflammatory process could be worse.”
Mortman explained that the lung goes into an inflammatory process to fight off the infection once coronavirus is in the mucus membranes. If the lungs are inflamed, it won’t be able to properly oxygenate and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Thus, COVID-19 patients would grasp for air or have trouble breathing as their body tries to balance the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
The doctor also said that if the inflammation does not subside, then it will cause lung scarring and long-term damage.
In an email to CNN, Morton stated that some two to four percent of COVID-19 patients develop irreversible lung damage. This raises the risks of dying from the coronavirus.
“I want people to see this and understand what this can do,” the doctor said. “People need to take this seriously.”
This video also shows how rapid and progressive a COVID-19 infection can take hold, regardless if the patient is vulnerable or not. Currently, the unnamed patient is under critical condition at the ICU of the Washington hospital.
Meanwhile, doctors in China performed a five-hour double lung transplant for 59-year-old COVID-19 patient in Feb. Considered a medical first in the world, it was a life-saving procedure for a man with severe lung damage due to coronavirus.
The patient presented symptoms on Jan. 23, which immediately progressed to a critical respiratory illness. His repeated nucleic acid tests were negative, but his lungs had serious damage.
Doctors worked to save the patient with the lung transplant. Following the surgery, the patient’s transplanted lungs were successfully functioning, and all his signs were stable.