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Visualizing exertional dyspnea in a post-COVID patient using electrical impedance tomography.

Infection 2023 June 16
PURPOSE AND METHOD: Many post-COVID patients suffer from dyspnea on exertion. To visualize exercise-induced dyspnea, a post-COVID patient and a healthy volunteer underwent an exercise test on a treadmill under stress relevant to everyday life monitored by electrical impedance tomography (EIT).

RESULTS: The lung-healthy volunteer showed an even ventilation distribution throughout the assessment, a large ventilated area, and a butterfly-like lung shape with a convex lung rim. The post-COVID patient showed clear differences in the ventilated area compared to the control subject. During exercise, a constantly changing picture of differently ventilated areas is shown. However, especially the anterior regions were under-ventilated and larger areas were partially absent from ventilation. Overall, uncoordinated breathing and an uneven distribution of ventilation dominated the findings.

CONCLUSION: EIT is suitable for visualizing disturbed ventilation of the lungs, both at rest and under stress. The potential as a diagnostic tool in dyspnea assessment should be investigated.

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