BENGALURU: Over half of people who contract Covid-19, including people with relatively mild infections, suffer from a range of conditions for months after they recover, recent findings show.
Patients report breathlessness, chest pain and heart issues, joint pain, vision problems, memory loss, months after contracting the novel coronavirus, Dr Ravindra Mehta, senior consultant of pulmonology at Apollo Hospitals told the media earlier this week after launching a post-Covid recovery clinic in the city.
Already, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, St. John’s Medical College and Ramaiah Hospitals have set up one such clinic each.
“Post-Covid symptoms we found include pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease caused by scarring/damage to lung tissue) that can last between 6-12 months, cardiovascular effects such as clots in legs and myocardial inflammation, fatigue, mood changes, headaches and body pain,” Dr Mehta said.
Covid-19 attacks not just the lungs but also other organs in the body and leaves lingering health issues. Some conditions manifest weeks or months after patients recover, impacting their well-being long afterwards.
While longer-term problems are more common among patients who were hospitalized, even those who came down with a mild bout can suffer prolonged effects, he said.
Apart from acute events such as stroke and myocardial infarction (tissue death due to failure of blood supply), chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are part of the post-Covid syndrome.
Many people who have recovered have died suddenly, in most cases, due to acute cardiac events.The hospital saw 1,400 Covid patients since June 23 at its Jayanagar branch, of which 480 were in ICU and the mortality rate was between 7.8% and 8.5%.
At its Bannerghatta branch, the hospital saw 1,450 Covid patients, of whom 600 were discharged from the ICU while 60 died.
For further research, the post-recovery clinic will hand out a questionnaire with 25 questions to recovered patients to gather data on the disease’s after effects.
Dr Sahana Govindaiah, director of medical services, said the team of experts, including neurologists and immunologists, which treated people with Covid-19 will attend to them post-recovery as well.
It will be integrated with an adult vaccination programme, in which recovered patients will be given shots to prevent other respiratory infections as influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia, said Dr Vinay D, infectious disease physician.
The hospital chain will set up clinics at its Bannerghatta Road, Jayanagar and Sheshadripuram branches in Bengaluru and one in Mysuru, which is seeing a similar trend.
“Half of patients come back with issues that require prolonged treatment. We are seeing heart issues among people aged around 28-30 years,” said N G Bharateesha Reddy, vice-president of Apollo BGS Hospitals.