Virtual reality shows what coronavirus does to your lungs

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WJLA/CNN) — A doctor at George Washington University Hospital wants everyone to know exactly how COVID-19 can damage your lungs.

Dr. Keith Mortman, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, created a virtual rendering of lungs from an actual patient being treated at the hospital.

Mortman thinks the first-of-its-kind view inside the lungs of a patient with COVID-19 has a powerful message for the public.

“This patient is a gentleman in his late 50s, who initially had a fever and a non-productive cough like many other people,” Dr. Mortman explained. “Respiratory symptoms progressed quite rapidly, to the point where he did need to be intubated and put on the ventilator.”

A virtual reality, 360-degree rendering shows what the virus does to the human body.

“So what you’re seeing in the video, essentially the blue part is the more normal lung, but anything you’re seeing yellow is lung that’s being destroyed by the virus,” Dr. Mortman said.

“It’s quite alarming to see, in all honesty, because unlike your garden variety pneumonia that might affect only one small part of the lung or unlike the common flu, what you’re seeing in this video is really the widespread diffuse damage to the lung,” Dr. Mortman added.

The 3D model was produced in partnership with a company called Surgical Theater, using a coronavirus patient’s CAT scan.

Mortman’s hope is that the technology can help medical professionals on the front lines, but he also wants members of the public to see these images for themselves.

“It’s really to educate them,” Dr. Mortman said. “I really want them to be able to see this and to really understand the damage that’s being done to the lungs — the severity of the disease that this is causing. So perhaps, maybe they think twice before having a house party or going outside to large groups.”

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