Summary of 2021 ANZSRS Best Oral Presentation

Dear ANZSRS members,


A huge thank-you to Niche Medical for sponsoring the Best Oral presentation at the recent 2021 ANZSRS virtual annual scientific meeting. Being announced as the winner of this award was a very pleasant surprise and the support of this award by Niche Medical is greatly appreciated. Below is a brief summary of the research presentation that I made during the conference.


Lung function abnormalities following recovery from COVID-19 infection


There is emerging evidence suggesting residual lung function abnormalities in patients who have recovered following Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. The aim of this clinical audit was to investigate the proportion of patients with lung function abnormalities after recovery from COVID-19 infection.


Spirometry, carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (TLCO) and lung volume measurements were performed on patients at 8 weeks and 6 months after recovery from COVID-19 infection during Victoria’s “first wave” and “second wave”. First wave patients were classified as those who required hospital admission or those managed as outpatients with ongoing respiratory symptoms (dyspnoea and/or chest tightness). For the second wave we focused on patients with more severe disease who were admitted to hospital with more significant signs and symptoms. Abnormalities were defined as results below the lower limit of normal.

For the first wave group, lung function data was obtained for 24 of 31 admitted patients and 20 of 28 outpatients with ongoing respiratory symptoms. The hospital admission cohort had well preserved lung function at 8 weeks, with only 2 having a reduced FEV1/FVC and 2 having a reduced TLCO. The outpatient cohort with ongoing respiratory symptoms were similar, with only 2 having a reduced FEV1/FVC, 2 having a reduced FVC and 1 having a reduced TLCO. At the 6 month mark, even fewer abnormalities were present in these groups.


For the more severe second wave patients, much higher abnormality rates were identified. At the 8 week mark, out of 31 patients there were 10 instances of a reduced FVC, 2 instances of a reduced FEV1/FVC and 14 instances of a reduced TLCO. 18 of 31 patients had at least one abnormality. The 6 month follow-up data on this second wave group is still being collected, however at this point, 14 of 23 patients had at least one abnormality.


The abnormality rates in the first group was lower than other published data, perhaps because the group of patients was not very severe. The abnormality rates in this more severe second group is closer to what has been published in some other literature, suggesting that some patients have residual lung function abnormalities following COVID infection.


Kind regards,

Danny Brazzale

Senior Respiratory Scientist

Austin Hospital

Heidelberg, VIC

Email: [email protected]