Residual radiological opacities correlate with disease outcomes in ICU-treated COVID-19.

Björnson M, Svensson AM, He C, Sköld M, Nyrén S, Nygren-Bonnier M, Bruchfeld J, Runold M, Jalde FC, Kistner A

Front Med (Lausanne) 11 (-) 1263511 [2024-04-03; online 2024-04-03]

Few studies consider both radiological and functional outcomes in COVID-19 survivors treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). We investigated clinical findings and pulmonary abnormalities on chest computed tomography (CT) and compared outcomes of severe versus mild-moderate acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) on long-term follow-up. This longitudinal cohort study included 118 COVID-19 patients (median age, 58 years; 79% men). Thoracic CT scans were performed 4, 10, and 22 months after hospital discharge. Two independent blinded radiologists analyzed the 10 months scans and scored the radiology findings semi-quantitatively, as no/minor versus widespread opacities [low-radiology opacity grade (ROG) versus high-ROG]. ARDS severity was based on the PaO2/FiO2 ratio. The 6 min walk test (6MWT) was performed after 3 and 9 months, and lung diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) and lung volume measurement after 9 and 15 months. Dynamic spirometry was done at all time points. Residual symptoms and health-related quality-of-life (HRQL) were evaluated using validated questionnaires. At 10 months, most patients (81/118; 69%) were classified as high-ROG, of which 70% had severe ARDS during hospitalisation; 69% of those with mild-moderate ARDS also had high-ROG. Patients with high-ROG had longer ICU stay and lower PaO2/FiO2 during hospitalisation (p < 0.01). At 9 months follow-up, patients with high-ROG had smaller lung volumes as % of predicted values [mean (±CI): 80 (77-84) vs. 93 (88-98) (p < 0.001)], lower DLCO as % of predicted values [74 (70-78) vs. 87 (82-92) (p < 0.001)], lower oxygen saturation during 6MWT (p = 0.02), and a tendency to more severe dyspnoea (p = 0.07), but no difference was found in HRQL compared with no/minor ROG (p = 0.92). A higher opacity score was related to lower DLCO at follow-up (r = -0.48, p < 0.001, Spearman rank test). Severe ARDS patients had slightly more severe fatigue at 9 months compared to mild-moderate, but no differences in dyspnoea or lung function at follow-up. Fibrotic-like changes were found in 93% of patients examined with CT scans at 2 years (55/118; 47%). Severe ARDS could predict widespread opacities (ROG > 25%) in most patients at follow-up at 10 months (AUC 0.74). Residual radiological abnormalities in ICU-treated COVID-19 patients, evaluated for up to 2 years, relate to persisting symptoms and impaired lung function, demanding careful follow-up regardless of ARDS severity at hospitalisation.

Category: Health

Funder: Hjärt-Lungfonden

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38633311

DOI 10.3389/fmed.2024.1263511

Crossref 10.3389/fmed.2024.1263511

pmc: PMC11021575

Publications 9.5.0