Pulmonary Hypertensive Changes Secondary to COVID-19 Pneumonia in a Chronically SARS-CoV-2-Infected Bilateral Lung Explant

Joseph M. Rohr, Heather Strah, David Berkheim, Aleem Siddique, Stanley J. Radio, Benjamin J. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

COVID-19, the syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has spread throughout the world, causing the death of at least three million people. For the over 81 million who have recovered, however, the long-term effects are only beginning to manifest. We performed a bilateral lung transplant on a 31-year-old male patient for chronic hypoxic respiratory failure, severe pulmonary hypertension and radiographically identified pulmonary fibrosis five months after an acute COVID-19 infection. The explant demonstrated moderate pulmonary vascular remodeling with intimal thickening and medial hypertrophy throughout, consistent with pulmonary hypertension. The parenchyma demonstrated an organizing lung injury in the proliferative phase, with severe fibrosis, histiocytic proliferation, type II pneumocyte hyperplasia, and alveolar loss consistent with known COVID-19 pneumonia complications. This report highlights a novel histologic finding in severe, chronic COVID-19. Although the findings in acute COVID-19 pneumonia have been well-examined at autopsy, the chronic course of this complex disease is not yet understood. The case presented herein suggests that COVID-induced pulmonary hypertension may become more common as more patients survive severe SARS-CoV-2-related pneumonia. Pulmonologists and pulmonary pathologists should be aware of this possible association and look for the clinical, radiographic, and histologic criteria in the appropriate clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-447
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Surgical Pathology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • lung transplant
  • pneumonia
  • pulmonary hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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