Virtual reality video reveals how coronavirus damages lungs

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A disturbing virtual reality video reveals how quickly the coronavirus spreads to the lungs, causing widespread and potentially long-term damage.

Doctors at George Washington University use 360-degree virtual reality technology to visualize the lungs of a COVID-19 patient transferred to the hospital.

Just days before the shot was taken, the patient, a man in his 50s, had no symptoms, according to CNN.

But by the time he was in the care of Dr. Keith Mortman, chief of thoracic surgery at the hospital, the disease had taken its toll on his lungs, clearly visible in the images as bands of green and cloudy clouds of damaged tissue .

Coraonavirus infection prevalent in both lungs of George Washington University patient in his fifties (green) in 360-degree 3D virtual reality video

Coraonavirus infection prevalent in both lungs of George Washington University patient in his fifties (green) in 360-degree 3D virtual reality video

From above, the contrast between the infected lung tissue and the blue bronchial tree is clear

From above, the contrast between the infected lung tissue and the blue bronchial tree is clear

The man was diagnosed with COVID-19 and placed in isolation at another hospital, where he had nothing more than cold symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath.

But within days, his condition began to deteriorate rapidly.

Doctors at his original hospital placed the man on a ventilator, but even that was not enough and he was transferred to George Washington University (GWU).

Dr. Mortman and his team have converted scans of the man’s lungs into a virtual reality video that recreates the man’s chest cavity in three dimensions in 360 degrees.

A scan shows what a healthy lung should look like, with a light blue colorization showing healthy, clear tissue

Coronavirus patient's lungs are clouded with many areas of infection (green)

A scan shows what a healthy lung should look like, with a light blue colorization showing healthy, clear tissue (left). Coronavirus patient’s lungs are cloudy with many areas of infection (green)

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease.

  • The most common symptoms are:
  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tired

Although a runny nose does not rule out coronavirus, it does not seem to be a main symptom so far.

Most people only become slightly ill, but the infection can become serious and even fatal, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.

In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause:

  • Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
  • Trembling fever, sweating, and chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
  • Low appetite, energy and fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)
  • Confusion (more common in the elderly)
  • Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has sometimes been a complication.

Avoid people with these symptoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before you go to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possible exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.

“It quickly becomes apparent that there is such a stark contrast between abnormal virus-infected lung tissue and healthier adjacent lung tissue,” said Dr. Mortman in a GWU podcast interview.

In the video, some lung tissue appears clear and colored in a clear, translucent blue. the bronchial tree – the airway system that enters and through the lungs – is a stronger, stronger blue in most places.

But the inflamed green tissue is clearly visible in many places in both lungs.

“It’s such a contrast that you don’t need an MD after your name to understand these images,” said Dr. Mortman.

“He is not isolated from any part of the lung, there is diffuse damage to both lungs.

“You can see the destruction that is caused in the lungs and why the lungs of these patients fail to the point of needing a mechanical ventilator. ”

So far, about 80% of American patients with COVID-19 develop only an infection and mild symptoms.

The remaining 20% ​​need to be hospitalized and almost 14% of them fall seriously ill. Just over six percent fall into critical condition and their pods may fail.

“It starts like this viral infection, then it becomes severe inflammation of the lungs and when that inflammation does not go away over time, it basically becomes scars … creating long term damage and it could really affect someone’s ability one to breathe. the long term, “said Dr. Mortman.

The coronavirus travels from the upper respiratory tract – the nose, mouth, throat, and upper lungs – to the depths of the lungs.

Pneumonia is the inflammation of this lower region of the lungs. The alveoli, small air sacs responsible for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, can fill with liquid or pus, which makes breathing difficult.

A 3D look inside the lungs shows that the infection spreads on both sides and deep into their lower parts (green)

A 3D look inside the lungs shows that the infection spreads on both sides and deep into their lower parts (green)

Dr. Keith Mortman says this level of inflammation can cause lasting damage that will make the patient more difficult to breathe along the line

Dr. Keith Mortman says this level of inflammation can cause lasting damage that will make the patient more difficult to breathe along the line

This is where ventilators come in, but they are rare in the United States where state governments and hospitals all compete for the limited number available to treat their sickest patients.

Although the elderly and people with underlying health conditions – especially respiratory problems – are at the highest risk, this is something that happens to young people, including the patient GWU.

“Young people are infected with the virus and we are seeing more and more cases of young patients being admitted to hospital every day,” said Dr. Mortman.

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