Pulmonary fibrosis 4 months after COVID-19 is associated with severity of illness and blood leucocyte telomere length.

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The risk factors for development of fibrotic-like radiographic abnormalities after severe COVID-19 are incompletely described and the extent to which CT findings correlate with symptoms and physical function after hospitalisation remains unclear. At 4 months after hospitalisation, fibrotic-like patterns were more common in those who underwent mechanical ventilation (72%) than in those who did not (20%). We demonstrate that severity of initial illness, duration of mechanical ventilation, lactate dehydrogenase on admission and leucocyte telomere length are independent risk factors for fibrotic-like radiographic abnormalities. These fibrotic-like changes correlate with lung function, cough and measures of frailty, but not with dyspnoea.


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Authors: Claire F McGroder, David Zhang, Mohammad A Choudhury, Mary M Salvatore, Belinda M D'Souza, Eric A Hoffman, Ying Wei, Matthew R Baldwin, Christine Kim Garcia

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