Ninety-one Percent of Covid-19 Patients Have Persistent Lung Abnormalities

A Netherlands study found that 91% of Covid 19 patients had persistent lung abnormalities three months after recovery. The study, led by Dr. Bram van den Borst of Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases’ September Issue.

Writing that long-term sequelae of Covid-19 haven’t been systematically studied, the team looked at “124 patients (59 ± 14 years, 60% male)…27 with mild, 51 with moderate, 26 with severe, and 20 with critical disease.” They found that  “[l]ung diffusion capacity was below the lower limit of normal in 42% of discharged patients. 99% of discharged patients had reduced ground-glass opacification on repeat CT imaging, and normal chest X-rays were found in 93% of patients with mild disease. Residual pulmonary parenchymal abnormalities were present in 91% of discharged patients and correlated with reduced lung diffusion capacity. Twenty-two percent had low exercise capacity, 19% low fat-free mass index, and problems in mental and/or cognitive function were found in 36% of patients. Health status was generally poor, particularly in the domains functional impairment (64%), fatigue (69%), and  QoL [quality of life] (72%).”

“This comprehensive health assessment revealed severe problems in several health domains in a substantial number of ex–COVID-19 patients. Longer follow-up studies are warranted to elucidate natural trajectories and to find predictors of complicated long-term trajectories of recovery,” recommended van den Borst, et al.


Bram van den Borst, Jeannette B Peters, Monique Brink, Yvonne Schoon, Chantal P Bleeker-Rovers, Henk Schers, Hieronymus W H van Hees, Hanneke van Helvoort, Mark van den Boogaard, Hans van der Hoeven, Monique H Reijers, Mathias Prokop, Jan Vercoulen, Michel van den Heuvel, Comprehensive Health Assessment 3 Months After Recovery From Acute Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 73, Issue 5, 1 September 2021, Pages e1089–e1098, Accessed September 20, 2021, at

Yee, Kate. “Lung abnormalities persist in 91% of COVID-19 patients.”, September 10, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021, at