With recent media reports of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) arising from COVID-19, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) released a brief statement on April 6, 2020 to clarify the difference between PF and fibrosis from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) stemming from COVID-19.*
Different Kinds of Fibrosis
The PFF’s statement discussed the difference between lung fibrosis (scarring) from ILD, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and fibrosis from COVID-19.
- Coronavirus COVID-19 infection may advance to pneumonia and ARDS, which requires life support and a mechanical ventilator. ARDS is severe respiratory failure characterized by inflammation in the lungs.
- A subset of patients who survive COVID-19 infection and recover from ARDS may develop lung fibrosis.
- Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of disorders associated with fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs. ILD includes idiopathic PF, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and other lung diseases.
- Fibrosis that may develop after ARDS and PF that arises in ILD have different features.
- ILD-related fibrosis is chronic and progressive. The fibrosis that can develop after surviving ARDS is severe, but is usually not progressive. Recovery for post-ARDS fibrosis takes about one year and may not be complete.
- Because fibrosis in ARDS and chronic ILDs may share underlying commonalities, however, there is a possibility that treatments for ILDs may be beneficial for lung diseases associated with COVID-19.
Regardless of the cause, there is currently no known cure for pulmonary fibrosis.
Refer to the original statement for more information.
*Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. (2020, April 6). Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Statement on COVID-19 [Press release]. PR Newswire.