In all 12 COVID Autopsy cases, the cause of death was found within the lungs or the pulmonary vascular system. Those who did not die of large pulmonary emboli died of extensive inflammation, meaning pneumonia with ARDS. In these COVID Autopsy cases, the lungs were wet and heavy, much like a saturated water sponge.
The lung surfaces often had a distinct patchy pattern, with pale areas alternating with slightly protruding and firm, deep reddish-blue Hypercapillarized areas. This indicates areas of intense inflammation, with endothelial dysfunction that can be seen at the microscopic level. When they look at the lungs’ slices under the microscope, they found diffuse alveolar damage in 8 COVID Autopsy cases.
Specifically, they saw hyaline membrane formation, tiny clots in the capillaries, capillaries engorged with red blood cells, and other inflammatory findings. All these findings represent ARDS. They also found lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, infiltrated these areas of infiltration. This fits the picture of viral pathogenesis.