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COVID-19 Does Not Seem to Impact Lung Function in Young People

Last Updated: September 22, 2021.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 infection does not appear to affect the lung function of children, adolescents, and young adults, according to two studies presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2021, held virtually from Sept. 5 to 8.

In the first study, Ida Mogensen, M.D., from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues compared spirometry measures from a cohort of young adults (mean age, 22.6 years) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 661 participants, 27 percent were seropositive, but mean changes in percent of predicted forced expiratory air volume in one second (FEV1) did not differ between the seronegative and seropositive groups. Changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) and the FEV1/FVC ratio also did not differ between the groups.

In the second study, Anne Schlegtendal, M.D., from Ruhr-University-Bochum in Germany, and colleagues examined the long-term effects of COVID-19 on pulmonary function in children and adolescents. Nineteen of 73 children (ages 5 to 18 years) with different disease severity complained of persistent or newly emerged symptoms since COVID-19, with eight reporting respiratory symptoms. Compared with 45 controls without COVID-19 infection, the investigators observed no significant differences in frequency of abnormal pulmonary function. Reduced FVC was seen in patients with severe infection regardless of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection or some other infection source.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about if and how the lung is affected after clearance of the coronavirus infection, especially in young people from the general population with less severe disease," Mogensen said in a statement. "Until now, this has not been known."

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