Q. How to treat lung scarring due to RSV?

Answered by
Dr. Chandra Shekhar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 18, 2020 and last reviewed on: Apr 12, 2022

Hello doctor,

Eight months ago, I had severe RSV lasting for 10 weeks. I am 66 years old, athletic, fit and in perfect health before RSV. I took no prescriptions whatsoever. I got RSV from my friend's infant at church. My husband is a double-boarded physician and recognized the RSV very quickly. I had acute wheezing and coughing. I was on five prescriptions (the usuals) for 10 weeks. I was off all medicines and back on the treadmill daily and also at the gym.

The one very noticeable thing that has remained and is very troubling, is that every time I climb stairs in my home (about 18 stairs to the second floor) I am quite out of breath. This does not happen on the treadmill but just on the stairs. I am convinced this is damage from RSV. The two x-rays, six months apart are showing scarring from the RSV. I was recently at a high altitude after many visits to that same location, and I was seriously struck with altitude problems. I was extremely short of breath and had to get a prescription inhaler which helped enormously. When I returned to my place of low altitude, my breathing greatly improved.

My questions are: Can I improve my lung scarring in any way? Should I get pulmonary studies? If I am not wheezing, will an inhaler help shortness of breath upon exertion? This is a problem for my fitness program and my very busy personal life.



Welcome to

Scarring is an irreversible process so it cannot be cured. Your breathlessness is due to less lung reserve because of scarring. Kindly share your x-ray chest image.

Your lungs will not become normal but breathlessness problem will be corrected by medications and respiratory exercises (pulmonary rehabilitation).

Medications are simple bronchodilators like tablet Doxophyllin 650 mg OD with inhaler combination of Formeterol and Budesonide. Respiratory exercises can be done in the form of pulmonary rehabilitation. Download pdf form of pulmonary rehabilitation and do it slowly in increasing way.

I hope this helps.

The Probable causes:

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).

Investigations to be done:

HRCT CHEST (high-resolution CT scan), ABG (arterial blood gas test).

Treatment plan:

Treatment plan will be changed after investigation.

Preventive measures:

Prevent infection and maitain hygiene.

Regarding follow up:

Follow up after one week.

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