Internist (Berl). 2020 Jul 29. doi: 10.1007/s00108-020-00854-5. Online ahead of print.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to pose a major global threat. Although a wide range of organ manifestations have now been described, the respiratory system remains in the forefront in terms of the course of infection. Severe pneumonia can develop and is generally prognostically relevant. The following article discusses currently known features of these pulmonary manifestations from a pathophysiological, symptomatological, and radiological perspective. With regard to pathophysiology, the complex nature of the acute pulmonary disease involving severe injury to the alveolar epithelium and pulmonary vascular endothelium resulting in severe respiratory failure in a proportion of patients is discussed. The differences from "classic" acute respiratory distress syndrome and the major effects these have on the treatment of COVID-19 are elucidated. Following a brief description of PCR-based pathogen identification and information on typical laboratory findings, imaging of COVID-19 pneumonia is described in greater details (typical findings, differential diagnoses, grading of the likelihood of COVID-19 pneumonia). This is followed by a description of symptoms, which develop in three phases. With regard to treatment, supportive and intensive care approaches are discussed, including O2 administration and (non-)invasive ventilation. The article concludes with a summary of the insights gained into pharmacological therapies: thrombosis prevention on the one hand, and specific antiviral and immunomodulatory therapies (remdesivir, tocilizumab, anakinra, dexamethasone) on the other.