Damage caused by coronavirus to the lungs

George Washington University Hospital released a 3D video illustrating the damage caused by coronavirus to the lungs. They are able to function properly – said Dr. Keith Mortman, head of the cardiovascular surgery department at the hospital.

The video shows extensive damage to the lungs of the 59-year-old patient, who prior to contracting the virus is considered to be generally healthy, except for a high blood pressure problem. Now, the patient’s condition is difficult and he needs the ventilator to breathe. However, even that is not enough – and he needed another machine that oxidizes his blood and returns it to his body, Dr. Mortman said.”This is not a 70-80-year-old patient with a weakened immune system and diabetes. Except for blood pressure, this patient did not have any background illness. One week after the original imaging was filmed, there is a chance that we would see a worsening of the infectious and inflammatory process in his lungs, ”Dr. Mortman emphasized.

Israeli imaging technology

The technology used by the imaging hospital was developed by Surgical Theater, founded by two former Israeli Air Force veterans. This Israeli technology is now being used by the hospital to explain to the general public the huge damage that the coronavirus can cause and thus harness the public to heed the health officials’ instructions.
“We allow the coronary patient’s health to be seen from every angle, including within and between the tissues. This makes the discussion clear and intuitive and even opens up possibilities for clinical research. Life, “said Alon Zuckerman, President of VR Division and Chief Operating Officer of Surgical Theater.

The yellow and green areas seen in the video demonstrate the parts of the lungs suffering from infection and inflammation. When the lungs encounter a viral infection, they try to seal the virus. What is clear from the video is that the damage is not limited to one area, but covers extensive areas in both lungs, demonstrating how quickly and aggressively the virus buys a grip on the body, even in non-elderly patients. In comparison, the health of a healthy person will not be yellow areas at all.

“Unfortunately, when a patient has such an extensive rate of damage, his lungs will take a long time to recover. For 2-4 percent of COVID-19 patients, this will prove to be irreversible damage and they will die from the disease,” Dr. Mortman explained.

The lungs are trying to seal the virus

The coronavirus is a respiratory virus.  It clings to the mucosal tissues of the airways and from there reaches the lungs. The body’s way of fighting it is through an inflammatory response – the doctor explained. The yellow areas symbolize both infection and inflammation, “resulting in a strong inflammatory process inside the lungs, which is actually the body’s attempt to control the infection,” Mortman explained.

However, inflammation interferes with the lungs to oxygenate the blood and remove carbon dioxide from it. As a result, patients appear to be breathing heavily or breathing a lot of air in each breath trying to get enough oxygen into their bodies. However, what is clear from the video is that the words “cough and difficulty breathing” often do not even illustrate what the virus causes inside the body.

“I want people to see the video and understand what this virus can do. People have to take it seriously,” Dr. Mortman said.

The imaging technology used to create the video is used by doctors today as a remedy for cancer patient screening and surgical strategy planning. Now, this is another tool in the war against the Coronavirus. “Many of us are in the dark about this virus, so we want to understand it as best we can. The patient whose lungs appear in the video was the first serious patient in our department, but many like him will be coming in the coming weeks,” Mortman said.


David T

David T is a french Medical student, during its free time, he is writing for The Medical Progress and helping us to understand better the Coronavirus.

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