Breaking News: Long COVID
Jake Anderson, DO and Heidi James, MD
Jake Anderson and Heidi James discuss Long COVID, which is the term used to describe the persistence of COVID-19 symptoms long past the acute phase of the illness. While the pathophysiology is as of yet unclear, its impact on patients and their functioning is not.
- An Italian study found that 87% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had symptoms 2 months post discharge; 55% of these had at least 3 symptoms
- Patients with long lasting COVID-19 symptoms are commonly referred to as “Long-haulers”
- Many patients have symptoms for weeks to months and can be very disabled from them
- The most common symptoms are
- Fatigue - often severe
- Chest pain
- Mental fogginess
- What we don’t know
- The pathophysiology of these symptoms
- How long they will last
- Who is more likely to affected, though young, healthy adults may be susceptible
- What we do know
- Our patients are greatly impacted by these symptoms
- These are legitimate, true symptoms
- An approach to long COVID symptoms
- Consider Long COVID as a rule out diagnosis
- Cast the net wide looking for all conditions that cause these symptoms
- Look for COVID’s known complications as appropriate
- Validate your patient’s experience
- Online communities of “Long Haulers” are functioning as support groups and advocacy networks, and are generating narrative and survey data
Covid-19: What do we know about “long covid?
Mahase, Elisabeth. bmj 370 (2020).
COVID-19 “Long Hauler” Symptoms Survey Report
Lambert, N. J. & Survivor Corps. Indiana University School of Medicine; 2020.
Brain fog, phantom smells and tinnitus: my experience as a Covid 'long hauler'
David, Hannah. The Guardian; 5 Aug 2020.
Covid-19 Long Haulers: Meaning, Symptoms, Support Groups
Brooke F. - August 22, 2020 4:46 AM
Please also support your colleagues struggling with this.
Heidi J., MD - August 24, 2020 10:14 AM
Excellent point, Brooke. Thanks for making it. It was noteworthy to see how many docs/researchers are in the Long-haulers social media groups and strongly involved in advocacy.