Ninety per cent of a sample group of coronavirus-recovered patients from a prominent hospital in China's Wuhan city where the pandemic broke out have reported lung damage and five per cent of them are again in quarantine after testing positive for the virus, according to a media report on Wednesday. A team at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University led by Peng Zhiyong, director of the hospital's Intensive Care Unit, has been conducting follow-up visits with '100 recovered patients' since April.
The first phase of this one-year programme finished in July. The average age of the patients in the study is 59. According to the first phase results, 90 per cent of the patients' lungs are still in a damaged state, which means their lungs ventilation and gas exchange functions have not recovered to the level of healthy people, state-run Global Times reported. Peng's team conducted a six-minute walking test with the patients. They found that the recovered patients could only walk 400 metres in six minutes while their healthy peers could walk 500 metres in the same period. Some recovered patients have to rely on oxygen machines even three months after being discharged from the hospital. The results also showed that antibodies against the novel coronavirus in 10 per cent of the 100 patients have disappeared. The patients also suffered from depression and a sense of stigma. Most of the recovered patients told the team that their families were not willing to have dinner with them at the same table, the report said.
Less than half of the recovered patients have returned to work, it said.
The findings are significant as the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan city.