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Arch Pathol Lab Med ; 145(1): 11-21, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067935


CONTEXT.­: Respiratory failure appears to be the ultimate mechanism of death in most patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Studies of postmortem COVID-19 lungs largely report diffuse alveolar damage and capillary fibrin thrombi, but we have also observed other patterns. OBJECTIVE.­: To report demographic and radiographic features along with macroscopic, microscopic, and microbiologic postmortem lung findings in patients with COVID-19 infections. DESIGN.­: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection and postmortem examination (March 2020-May 2020) were included. Clinical findings were abstracted from medical records. Lungs were microscopically reviewed independently by 4 thoracic pathologists. Imaging studies were reviewed by a thoracic radiologist. RESULTS.­: Eight patients (7 men, 87.5%; median age, 79 years; range, 69-96 years) died within a median of 17 days (range, 6-100 days) from onset of symptoms. The median lung weight was 1220 g (range, 960-1760 g); consolidations were found in 5 patients (62.5%) and gross thromboemboli were noted in 1 patient (12.5%). Histologically, all patients had acute bronchopneumonia; 6 patients (75%) also had diffuse alveolar damage. Two patients (25%) had aspiration pneumonia in addition. Thromboemboli, usually scattered and rare, were identified in 5 patients (62.5%) in small vessels and in 2 of these patients also in pulmonary arteries. Four patients (50%) had perivascular chronic inflammation. Postmortem bacterial lung cultures were positive in 4 patients (50%). Imaging studies (available in 4 patients) were typical (n = 2, 50%), indeterminate (n = 1, 25%), or negative (n = 1, 25%) for COVID-19 infection. CONCLUSIONS.­: Our study shows that patients infected with COVID-19 not only have diffuse alveolar damage but also commonly have acute bronchopneumonia and aspiration pneumonia. These findings are important for management of these patients.

COVID-19/pathology , Lung/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Bronchopneumonia/pathology , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/mortality , Fatal Outcome , Female , Humans , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Male , Minnesota/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Aspiration/pathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , Pulmonary Embolism/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Tomography, X-Ray Computed