Elia A, Gennser M
Diving Hyperb Med 50 (4) 413-416 [2020-12-20; online 2020-12-17]
In late 2019, a highly pathogenic novel coronavirus (CoV), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 emerged from Wuhan, China and led to a global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 has a predilection for the pulmonary system and can result in serious pneumonia necessitating hospitalisation. Computed tomography (CT) chest scans of patients with severe symptoms, show signs of multifocal bilateral ground or ground-glass opacities (GGO) associated with consolidation areas with patchy distribution. However, it is less well known that both asymptomatic and mild symptomatic patients may exhibit similar lung changes. Presumably, the various pathological changes in the lungs may increase the risk of adverse events during diving (e.g., lung barotrauma, pulmonary oedema, etc.), thus these lung manifestations need to be considered prior to allowing resumption of diving. Presently, it is not known how the structural changes in the lungs develop and to what extent they resolve, in particular in asymptomatic carriers and patients with mild disease. However, current evidence indicates that a month of recovery may be too short an interval to guarantee complete pulmonary restitution even after COVID-19 infections not demanding hospital care.