Post-COVID-19 pulmonary fibrosis: Novel sequelae of the current pandemic

Shiva Rattan Ambardar*, Stephanie L. Hightower, Nikhil A. Huprikar, Kevin K. Chung, Anju Singhal, Jacob F. Collen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Since the initial identification of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. As effective vaccines and treatments begin to emerge, it will become increasingly important to identify and proactively manage the long-term respiratory complications of severe disease. The patterns of imaging abnormalities coupled with data from prior coronavirus outbreaks suggest that patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia are likely at an increased risk of progression to interstitial lung disease (ILD) and chronic pulmonary vascular disease. In this paper, we briefly review the definition, classifi-cation, and underlying pathophysiology of interstitial lung disease (ILD). We then review the current literature on the proposed mechanisms of lung injury in severe COVID-19 infection, and outline potential viral-and immune-mediated processes implicated in the development of post-COVID-19 pulmonary fibrosis (PCPF). Finally, we address patient-specific and iatrogenic risk factors that could lead to PCPF and discuss strategies for reducing risk of pulmonary complications/sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2452
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ARDS
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Venous thromboembolism


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