Post-COVID fibrosis a concern even for younger coronavirus patients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Most of the discussions of COVID-19 complications have been about older people, but we know the disease can hit younger people as well.

Broadway star Nick Cordero just lost his three-month battle to the virus at just 41 years old.

There was also a 20-year-old COVID- 19 survivor in Chicago who required a lung transplant after he caught the virus to treat a condition known as post-COVID fibrosis.

Post-COVID fibrosis is a long-term complication associated with coronavirus infection that occurs when fluid builds up in tiny air sacs in the lungs.

Post-COVID fibrosis reduces oxygen in the bloodstream and deprives the organs of oxygen and can lead to organ failure. Doctors say the sicker you are with the virus the more likely you are to have these complications.

But Pulmonologist Raymond Pumarejo with Ascension St. Vincent’s said it’s difficult to predict who is going to get this degree of pneumonia, inflammation or fibrosis.

“Clearly there might be a time down the road that we might identify some risk factors, maybe genetic, maybe some blood types, there’s been some talk about, that leads to these patients to developing it even though on paper they’re fairly young and healthy,” Pumarejo said. “I think the key point: At any given time any young person can develop this. It can be very serious and can have long-lasting effects.”

Pumarejo said anytime you take care of patients with influenza or other types of viruses, you can see these types of complications, but COVID-19 is just so contagious. He said it’s another argument for why wearing a mask and practicing social distancing are so important.

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