Tuesday, April 7th 2020, 6:47 pm - The patient did not have any symptoms of COVID-19 a few days before his lungs were scanned
George Washington University Hospital released a 3D scan of a coronavirus patient’s lungs to emphasize how dangerous the virus can be. The 59-year-old male patient did not have any symptoms of COVID-19 a few days before the scan and was considered to be generally healthy, however, reports have confirmed that he has succumbed to the virus.
"I want people to see this and understand what this can do," said Dr. Keith Mortman, chief of thoracic surgery at George Washington University Hospital when he was asked why the scan was released during an interview with CNN. "People need to take this seriously."
Although the patient had high blood pressure, Mortman said that he was “generally healthy” before contracting the virus. Once admitted to the hospital the patient required a ventilator on the highest possible setting and another machine to circulate and oxygenate his blood.
Areas that are marked yellow on the lungs in the scan, which can be seen in the video above, indicate areas that were infected and inflamed. The respiratory system can become inflamed when the body attempts to prevent a virus from spreading into the mucus membranes. This can cause shortness of breath because the lungs are struggling to oxygenate the blood and remove carbon dioxide.
While some patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 might display only mild symptoms, other patients could suffer permanent lung damage and require extensive care in the ICU for weeks.
As of April 7, the United States has over 390,000 official cases of COVID-19, which is the highest national total in the world. Health officials warn that the following two weeks in the U.S. will be crucial to properly fight the virus and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases says that "we are struggling to get it under control," as reported by CNN.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) states that several factors have contributed to the significant spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and include fragmented and inconsistent messages from political leaders and the difficulty of coordinating 50 state and territorial governments.