Long COVID or COVID lung?
Since mid-February, medical teams at the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) have been busy contacting patients who were hospitalized for several weeks and whose lungs were significantly affected by COVID 19.
"There's a lot of media coverage about long COVID, but as a pulmonologist, I like to say that I take care of patients who have “COVID lung”, explains Dr. Jennifer Landry.
The physician cites the extreme case of a patient who was admitted in April 2021 and only left the hospital in February 2022. "Post-COVID fibrosis or repeated infections, combined with muscle weakness, mean that some patients are not strong enough to breathe on their own. They are then supplied with oxygen by an artificial ventilator, and weaning can take a long time."
About 50 patients have been able to see the care team so far, and another 100 are yet to be contacted. "During their visit we take the opportunity to review medications. We also look at the most recent lung X-rays, and to see that the lung inflammation has disappeared is very reassuring," says Dr. Landry. "It's also an opportunity for us to do some prevention work about flu and pneumonia vaccinations and smoking cessation, for example.
Dr. Jennifer Landry thanks the MUHC Foundation who is raising $500,000 to fully equip the Post-Covid clinic to improve patient care.
The Montreal Chest Institute to breathe easier and live longer
The MCI, which has been in existence for over a century, is the only hospital of its kind to provide quaternary respiratory care in Quebec. It was founded in 1903, when another pandemic was raging in Quebec: at the time, tuberculosis was killing 12,000 people a year.
Relocated to the Glen site in 2015, the Institute has seven beds in the respiratory intensive care unit and remains a reference for all things related to lung health.