Image by Tag Hartman-Simkins for Futurism

While most patients who caught COVID-19 ended up making a full recovery, some are dealing with long-term effects of the coronavirus.

In an analysis of 12 patients who recovered from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, doctors at the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) found that several of them now have reduced lung capacity, according to Business Insider.

"They gasp if they walk a bit more quickly," Owen Tsang, medical director of the HKHA's Infectious Disease Center, said in a press conference. "Some patients might have around a drop of 20 to 30 percent in lung function."

After scanning the patients' lungs, doctors saw signs of organ damage.

That's far too small a sample size to declare that COVID-19 necessarily causes long-term damage, but it could be a warning sign that doctors should keep an eye out for potential complications.

It's not yet clear how applicable these results are to the outbreak at large or most other patients hit by the disease.

But even on its own, it's a troubling sign that more severe cases of COVID-19 could lead to more medical problems in the long run, even after patients have kicked the virus itself.