Pneumothorax or Punctured Lungs, A Possible Complication of Covid-19

(1) This article by Victoria Foster sheds light on a symptom of Covid-19 that surprised several medical professionals. Foster discusses the occurrence of pneumothorax or punctured lungs appearing in individuals hospitalized for Covid-19. Pneumothorax is usually most common in tall men or elderly individuals with lung disease. Doctors have reported these symptoms in individuals with Covid-19 that do not fit into those two groups and even extends to individuals with Covid-19 that were not put on a ventilator. A few UK doctors shared this concern on social media and found that other health care professionals were witnessing similar cases. A reported 63% of individuals who experienced a pneumothorax while suffering from Covid-19 survived. Pre-existing conditions, gender and age of these individuals were considered, elderly patients experienced a lower probability of survival with this complication.

(2) The focus of this study , was to analyze pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum and how they may cause complications in patients with Covid-19. Data was gathered from several healthcare systems and details of demographic, radiology, clinical management, lab results, and survival rates were included with the records. This study could not establish a causality relationship between pneumothorax and Covid-19. However, because of the relative frequency of the co-occurrence of Covid-19 and pneumothorax it is unlikely that all/most of these cases were coincidental. The pneumothorax cases that were studied were separated into groups: patients with acute presentation that may be a direct complication of covid-19, ward inpatients who developed pneumothorax while admitted at a hospital, and patients with pneumothorax who were on invasive ventilator support. While the association between pathologies is not fully understood, cyst-formation in the lungs that has been noted to occur with SARS may be involved. The findings allowed them to reasonably conclude that these cases of pneumothorax were likely a consequence of Covid-19.

(3) I think the science was used well and interpreted accurately in this article. It seems that the purpose of Foster’s story was to shed light on a new possible complication that may occur with Covid-19 patients. The connection and pathology of pneumothoraxes in relationship to Covid-19 are not fully understood yet, but studies surrounding this complication must evolve as research and time continue to reveal more about Covid-19 and how it effects human physiology. I think it is important to increase awareness of new complications surrounding Covid-19 and to share these findings with other healthcare professionals and with the public. I think that Foster does a good job in summarizing the details surrounding this research in an accurate way that the public could understand, while not misinterpreting the scientific details.


Hannah Dillenbeck

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