Pulmonary Cavitation: An Under-Recognized Late Complication of Severe COVID-19 Lung Disease

Zaid Zoumot; Maria-Fernanda Bonilla; Ali S. Wahla; Irfan Shafiq; Mateen Uzbeck; Rania M. El-Lababidi; Fadi Hamed; Mohamed Abuzakouk; Mahmoud ElKaissi


BMC Pulm Med. 2021;21(24) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Pulmonary radiological findings of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been well documented and range from scattered ground-glass infiltrates in milder cases to confluent ground-glass change, dense consolidation, and crazy paving in the critically ill. However, lung cavitation has not been commonly described in these patients. The objective of this study was to assess the incidence of pulmonary cavitation in patients with COVID-19 and describe its characteristics and evolution.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all patients admitted to our institution with COVID-19 and reviewed electronic medical records and imaging to identify patients who developed pulmonary cavitation.

Results: Twelve out of 689 (1.7%) patients admitted to our institution with COVID-19 developed pulmonary cavitation, comprising 3.3% (n = 12/359) of patients who developed COVID-19 pneumonia, and 11% (n = 12/110) of those admitted to the intensive care unit. We describe the imaging characteristics of the cavitation and present the clinical, pharmacological, laboratory, and microbiological parameters for these patients. In this cohort six patients have died, and six discharged home.

Conclusion: Cavitary lung disease in patients with severe COVID-19 disease is not uncommon, and is associated with a high level of morbidity and mortality.