A team led by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that even asthma patients had no statistically significant deterioration in lung function.

Published: September 07, 2021 4:56 pm |

Last updated: September 07, 2021 4:56 pm

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LONDON: COVID-19 infection does not appear to affect lung function in children and adolescents, according to a study presented Tuesday at the virtual international congress of the European Respiratory Society.

A A team led by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that even asthma patients did not have a statistically significant deterioration in lung function.

However, these patients showed slightly lower readings for the amount of air they could forcibly exhale in one second – known as the forced expiratory air volume in one second (FEV1), which is one of the measures of lung function.

A second study presented at the conference on Sunday showed that lung function can also be affected in children and adolescents after COVID-19. Infection was unaffected, apart from those who had suffered severe infection.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has F. raise questions about whether and how the lungs are affected after the coronavirus infection has subsided, especially in young people from the general population with less severe illnesses, “said Ida Mogensen, postdoc at the Karolinska Institute.

The first study collected information from 661 young people with a mean age of 22 who were part of a large study enrolling children born in Stockholm between 1994 and 1996 and who have been followed by researchers since.

Data collected included measurements of lung function, the Inflammation and white blood cells called eosinophils, which are part of the immune system. Of the 661 participants, 178 had antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which indicates an infection.

The researchers measured FEV1, the forced vital capacity (FVC), which is the volume of air in the lungs that passes after a The deepest possible breath can be exhaled, and the FEV1 / FVC ratio, which is an indicator of narrowed airways.

They calculated the changes in lung function between the time before and during the pandemic. The researchers then compared the percentage change with participants who did not become infected. “Our analysis showed similar lung function regardless of COVID-19 history,” said Mogensen.

When the researchers included 123 participants with asthma in the analysis, the 24 percent who had COVID-19 showed slightly lower Lung function, which, however, was not statistically significant. There was no difference in lung function in patients who had COVID-19 in terms of eosinophils, inflammation indicators, allergy reactions, or the use of inhaled corticosteroids, they said.

The second study, presented by Anne Schlegtendal of the University Children’s Hospital in Germany, examined the long-term consequences of a COVID-19 infection between August 2020 and March 21 in 73 children and adolescents between the ages of five and 18 years.

Schlegtendal and colleagues conducted between two weeks and six months after the COVID 19 infection performed lung function tests and compared the results with a control group of 45 children who were not infected with the coronavirus but who may have had a different infection.

The participants had different disease severities. An infection was considered serious if the patient suffered from shortness of breath, fever over 38.5 degrees Celsius for more than five days, bronchitis, pneumonia or a hospital stay of more than one day.

Nineteen children and adolescents in COVID-19 Group had persistent or new symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection, the researchers found. Eight reported at least one respiratory symptom, six of them had persistent breathing problems and two had persistent coughs.

Two of those eight patients had abnormal lung function, they said. “When we compared the COVID-19 patients with the control group, we did not find any statistically significant differences in the incidence of abnormal lung function,” Schlegtendal said.

The researchers acknowledged some limitations in their study, including the small number of participants. Participants were enrolled in a single hospital, patients reported their symptoms and a lack of information on long-term results in the control group, they said. In addition, the COVID-19 group did not include people with severe breathing problems during the acute one Stage of infection. “The results of these two studies provide important confirmation of the effects of COVID infection on lung function in children and young adults,” said Anita Simonds, professor at Imperial College London, UK, who was not involved in the research.

“We already know that this group is less likely to have serious illnesses if they contract the virus, and these studies, which include mostly non-COVID-19 comparison groups, show that they are also less likely to have long-term consequences suffer from lung function, “added Simonds.

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