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Post-Acute Phase of COVID-19: Fresh Insights
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Post-Acute Phase of COVID-19: Fresh Insights

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Highlights:
  • 21 days (or 3 weeks) after the initial COVID-19 infection, the post-acute phase starts
  • Health complications like chronic respiratory failure, heart rhythm problems, amnesia, diabetes, anxiety, and fatigue might develop
  • Improving the early diagnosis and management of infected individuals using the healthcare resources will reduce future health complications in COVID-19 patients

One in 7 (14%) of COVID-19 infected adults have at least one health complication that requiring medical attention after the acute phase of illness, which is 5% higher compared to 2020 and 1.65% higher than individuals diagnosed as having viral lower respiratory tract illness, revealed a new study published by The BMJ.

Though earlier studies suggested that some COVID-19 survivors develop short- and long-term clinical conditions (sequelae), only a few studies have examined the excess risk of new clinical conditions due to coronavirus infection beyond the initial (acute) recovery period.

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It is too early to predict how long clinical sequelae will persist after COVID-19, but the symptoms clearly create a major personal burden for many people, says Elaine Maxwell at the National Institute for Health Research, in a linked editorial.

To bridge this gap, the study investigates the post-acute phase occurring 21 days (or 3 weeks) after initial infection with COVID-19 to evaluate the excess risk of developing new clinical conditions in this phase of coronavirus infection.
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Using health insurance records, the study identifies 266,586 COVID-19 infected adults (18-65 years) from 1 January to 31 October 2020 into three comparison groups to know whether these individuals were diagnosed with at least one health complication up to six months after initial infection.

The study results revealed 14% of COVID-19 infected adults had the risk of developing long term complications during the post-acute phase of the viral infection.

Risk for specific conditions like chronic respiratory failure, heart rhythm problems, amnesia, diabetes, anxiety, and fatigue was higher in the comparison groups.

The results of the observational study emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and management of COVID-19 infected individuals using the healthcare resources to reduce the future health complications.

Long COVID

Long COVID is a type of post-COVID condition and includes symptoms that last weeks or months after first being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. People with long COVID report experiencing different combinations of the following symptoms:

Multi Organ Effects of COVID-19

Although COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, it can damage many other organs as well. Multi organ effects include conditions like, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) and autoimmune conditions. In MIS condition different body parts can become swollen. Autoimmune conditions happen when the person's immune system attacks healthy cells in the body resulting in swelling and other serious complications.

What are the Solutions?

  • We need to realize the importance of assessing the long-term impact in post COVID-19 clinics to explore the solutions to tackle the symptoms.
  • Post-hospitalization COVID project is one of several such projects globally to study patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • Clinical trials of new strategies to improve long-term health and well-being of the patients are required.
  • Research on long-term rehabilitation strategies for the post-COVID phase is the need of the hour.

References:
  1. Post-COVID Conditions - (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html)
  2. COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects - (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351)


Source: Medindia

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