Creepy virtual reality video shows how coronavirus spreads quickly through the lungs, causing widespread and possibly long-term damage.
Doctors at George Washington University 360-degree virtual reality technology to visualize the lungs of a COVID-19 patient transferred to their hospital.
Just days before the images were taken, the patient, a man in his fifties, had no symptoms at all.
But by the time he was under the care of Dr. Keith Mortman, chief of hospital thoracic surgery, had the disease devastated his lungs, clearly visible in the images as streaks of cloudy, green streaks of damaged tissue.
Coraonavirus infection is seen widespread in both lungs of a fifties (green) George Washington University patient in vibrant 360-degree 3D virtual reality video
From above, the contrast between the infected lung tissue and the blue bronchial tree is clear
The man had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was confined to another hospital, where he had nothing but cold symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
But within days his condition began to deteriorate rapidly.
Doctors in 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 converted scans of the man’s lungs into a virtual reality video that recreated the man’s chest cavity in 360 degrees in three dimensions.
A scan shows what a healthy lung should look like, with light blue staining showing healthy, clear tissue (left). The lungs of the coronavirus patient are clouded with many areas of infection (green)
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?
Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that caused SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease.
- The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
While having a runny nose doesn’t rule out the coronavirus, it doesn’t seem to be a primary symptom so far.
Most people get only slightly ill, but the infection can become serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health problems.
In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can lead to:
- Possible with yellow, green or bloody mucus
- Fever, sweats, and chills
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
- Little appetite, energy and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting (more common in children)
- Confusion (more common in the elderly)
- Some patients have also reported diarrhea, and renal failure has occasionally been a complication.
Avoid people with these symptoms. If you develop them, call your doctor before going to the hospital or the doctor so she and you can prepare to minimize possible exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.
“It quickly becomes clear that there is such a large contrast between virus-infected, abnormal lung tissue and the healthier adjacent lung tissue,” said Dr. Mortman in a GWU podcast interview.
In the video, some lung tissue appears clear and colored a light, translucent blue. the bronchial tree – the system of airways that runs in and through the lung – is firmer, stronger blue in most places.
But green colored inflamed tissue is clearly visible in many places in both lungs.
“It’s such a contrast that you don’t need an MD behind your name to understand these images,” said Dr. Mortman.
“It is not isolated to any part of the lung, there is diffuse damage to both lungs.
“You can see the destruction being done in the lungs and why these patients’ lungs are not working to the point that they need a mechanical ventilator.”
So far, about 80 percent of U.S. COVID-19 patients develop only mild infection and symptoms.
The other 20 percent must be hospitalized, and nearly 14 percent of them become seriously ill. Just over six percent are in critical condition and their cams can fail.
“It starts as this viral infection, then it becomes serious inflammation in the lungs, and if that inflammation doesn’t go away over time, it essentially becomes scarring … causing long-term damage and the real person’s ability to breathing can affect the long term, ”explained Dr. Mortman out.
Coronavirus moves from the upper respiratory tract – the nose, mouth, throat, and upper part of the lungs – to the deeper parts of the lungs.
Pneumonia is the inflammation of this lower part of the lungs. The alveoli, small air sacs responsible for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, can fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.
A 3D look into the lungs shows that the infection is spreading to both sides and deep in their lower range (green)
Dr. Keith Mortman says this level of inflammation can cause long-term damage, making it more difficult for the patient to breathe down the line
That’s where fans come in, but they’re scarce in the U.S., where state governments and hospitals all compete for the limited number available to treat their sickest patients.
While seniors and those with underlying health problems – especially respiratory problems – are most at risk, it also happens to younger people, including the GWU patient.
“Young people are becoming infected with the virus and we are seeing more and more reports of younger patients being admitted to hospitals every day,” said Dr. Mortman.