X-rays show the damage in the lungs of a smoker and someone who has had Covid (Picture: Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall)
X-rays of the lungs of recovered Covid patients show damage that is ‘far worse’ than those who have smoked for years, according to a trauma specialist.
Dr Brittany Bankhead-Kendall, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has shared pictures of X-rays side-by-side to show the contrast.
She said the lungs of people who have had coronavirus can be almost completely white, meaning there has been intense scarring and a lack of air has been entering the organs.
In contrast smokers’ lungs are more hazy and show less damage, even among those who have smoked for years, Dr Bankhead-Kendall said.
She added that Covid lungs can ‘collapse’ and ‘clot off’ and the shortness of breath can ‘linger on and on and on.’
Dr Bankhead-Kendall told CBS DFW that while medics have been concentrating on keeping people alive, the long term effects of the disease are not well understood.
She said: ‘Everyone’s just so worried about the mortality thing and that’s terrible and it’s awful.
‘But man, and all the survivors and the people who have tested positive this is – it’s going to be a problem.’
This X-ray shows the lungs of a healthy patient (Picture: Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall)
All of those who experienced symptoms of the disease had X-rays that showed damage while the scarring was present even among people who were otherwise asymptomatic, Dr Bankhead-Kendall said.
‘There are still people who say: “I’m fine I don’t have any issues” and you pull up their chest X-ray and they absolutely have a bad chest X-ray,’ she said.
While appearing on CBS DFW, the doctor shared three images of X-rays: one from a healthy patient, one of a smoker and another of a Covid patient.
The healthy lungs X-ray showed large amounts of black space, meaning the person could breathe normally and inhale large amounts of air.
The damage to a smoker’s lungs was not as severe as Covid (Picture: Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall)
In contrast a Covid Patient’s lungs showed severe damage (Picture: Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall)
The haziness which showed up on the X-ray of a smoker indicates damage to the walls and air sacs of the lungs and some inflammation.
But, in contrast, the whiteness of the Covid X-ray shows evidence of what’s known as lung opacities. This usually indicates the lungs are full of things like fluid, bacteria or immune system cells which can limit the amount of oxygen a patient can take in.
‘You’ll either see a lot of that white dense scarring or you’ll see it throughout the entire lung. And if you’re not feeling problems now the fact that that’s on your chest X-ray It sure is indicative of you possibly having problems later on,’
It’s still not clear whether the scarring of the lungs will recover among people who have had Covid. Anyone suffering shortness of breath after recovering from the disease is being urged to contact their doctor.
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