As many as 1 in 100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients may experience a pneumothorax, or punctured lung, according to a multicenter observational case series published yesterday in the European Respiratory Journal. Pneumothorax usually occurs in very tall young men or older patients with serious underlying lung disease. But University of Cambridge researchers identified COVID-19 patients with neither of those traits who had a punctured lung or pneumomediastinum (air or gas leakage from a lung into the area between the lungs) from March to June at 16 UK hospitals. “We started to see [COVID-19] patients affected by a punctured lung, even among those who were not put on a ventilator,” said Stefan Marciniak, MB BChir, PhD, from the University of Cambridge in a news release. “To see if this was a real association, I put a call out to respiratory colleagues across the UK via Twitter. The response was dramatic—this was clearly something that others in the field were seeing.” Sixty of 71 COVID-19 patients included in the study had a punctured lung, including two with different episodes of pneumothorax, for a total of 62 punctures. Six of the 60 patients with pneumothorax also had pneumomediastinum, while 11 patients had only pneumomediastinum.

 

Male doctor presses on screen digital tablet in the hospital

Read more CIDRAP…