Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Histopathological changes in lungs of patients with fatal COVID 19 infection: A series of 15 cases

1 Department of Pathology, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam, India
2 Department of Forensic Medicine, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Pranita Medhi,
Department of Pathology, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpm.ijpm_866_21

Introduction: The predominant pathology noted in the lungs of patients dying of COVID-19 is reported to be diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Other studies have identified microthrombi to be a prominent finding of lung injury in patients affected by COVID-19. We describe the lung histopathological findings in fifteen cases of COVID-19 who died from the disease with the aim of reporting the microscopic changes in the lungs of patients dying from this disease. Methods: Lung tissues from fifteen consecutive autopsy cases of COVID-19 were studied for gross and microscopic features. The case history of the deaths was noted, and the information was analyzed. The lung damage seen was graded on a semiquantitative scale on the basis of the percentage of tissue involved. Results: Gross examination of the lungs showed multiple foci of consolidation mainly in the lower lobes of the lungs as the most commonly encountered finding. The other significant pattern was congested and edematous lungs with areas of consolidation. Microscopic assessment of lung sections showed 8 out of the 15 cases showing changes of the exudative phase of diffuse alveolar damage, whereas two cases were in the proliferative phase. Hyaline membranes were one of the common findings along with intra-alveolar edema and interstitial edema. Four cases showed changes in organizing phase. Other findings were microthrombi formation, fungal abscesses, dilated and collapsed alveoli, intra-alveolar hemorrhage, and acute neutrophilic pneumonia. Conclusion: DADand interstitial pneumonitis were the most striking features in our autopsy study. Features of different phases of diffuse alveolar damage were seen to coexist in the same patient indicating the temporal heterogeneity of the ongoing lung injury in these patients.

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