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The Spectrum of Pulmonary Complications in COVID-19: Airway, Alveolar, and Vascular Compromise

Summary: An all-encompassing look at the many effects of COVID-19 on the respiratory system, the virulence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the management of ARDS, and the potential long-term consequences of COVID-19. 


Divya Reddy MBBS, MPH
Assistant Professor, Pulmonary Division
Associate Program Director, Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center

Video Editor: Kyle Swartz, DO


Key points

  • The ACE-2 receptor is important in the pathogenesis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Its expression in lung tissue may explain COVID-19 risk especially in patients with prior underlying lung disease.

  • There are a multitude of effects that COVID-19 can have on lungs from ARDS to pneumothoraces. Existing literature, based on randomized controlled trials, supports the use of lung protective low tidal volume ventilation in mechanically ventilated ARDS patients. The optimal amount of PEEP is still disputable.

  • COVID-19 patients are often readmitted with bacterial infections and venous thromboembolism. The long-term effects of COVID-19 can include persistent fibrosis and as a result, many patients remain symptomatic for months after discharge.


The protocols and recommendations described in these videos do not constitute medical advice or treatment nor should they be considered replacement of the patient / physician relationship or a physicians professional judgement. ATS and the creators of the videos disclaims all liability for treatment, diagnosis, decisions and actions taken or not taken in reliance of information taken from this website.