Diagnostics (Basel) 12 (1) - [2022-01-01; online 2022-01-01]
Autoptic studies of patients who died from COVID-19 constitute an important step forward in improving our knowledge in the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Systematic analyses of lung tissue, the organ primarily targeted by the disease, were mostly performed during the first wave of the pandemic. Analyses of pathological lesions at different times offer a good opportunity to better understand the disease and how its evolution has been influenced mostly by new SARS-CoV-2 variants or the different therapeutic approaches. In this short report we summarize responses collected from a questionnaire survey that investigated important pathological data during the first two pandemic waves (spring-summer 2020; autumn-winter 2020-2021). The survey was submitted to expert lung pathologists from nine European countries involved in autoptic procedures in both pandemic waves. The frequency of each lung lesion was quite heterogeneous among the participants. However, a higher frequency of pulmonary superinfections, both bacterial and especially fungal, was observed in the second wave compared to the first. Obtaining a deeper knowledge of the pathological lesions at the basis of this complex and severe disease, which change over time, is crucial for correct patient management and treatment. Autoptic examination is a useful tool to achieve this goal.