Post-Covid complications worry health experts

ASHA workers and other medical staff have been keeping a tab on those who have recovered.

Published: 24th February 2021 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2021 07:33 AM   |  A+A-

Illus: Express

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 84,194 patients have been found to display post-Covid symptoms such as respiratory and cardiac issues.102 post-Covid clinics have been set up in the district to identify and screen patients who have recovered

Though data obtained from the state Health Department shows a total recovery of 96,714, out of the 1,00,953 Covid-19 cases reported in Thiruvananthapuram, long-term effects after recovery are a source of worry for health experts. As many as 102 post-Covid clinics currently set up in the district have been involved in identifying and screening every patient who has recovered from the virus yet reports persistent symptoms.

ASHA workers and other medical staff have been keeping a tab on those who have recovered. They’re monitored every week for signs such as respiratory problems, which include persistent cough, breathlessness, palpitations and swollen feet in the elderly population. The multisystem inflammatory syndrome has been reported in children. 

As per data with the district medical office, 84,194 patients who have recovered from Covid have been to the post-Covid clinics set up in primary healthcare centres and all government hospitals. A cumulative data is collected every week from the 102 post-Covid clinics set up in the district based on which follow-ups are also given.

Dr Dhanuja V A, nodal officer of Non-Communicable diseases, Thiruvananthapuram, said, “We have collected the list of Covid-19 patients who have recovered based on which they are identified and screened for post-Covid issues. Those in category B which include patients with substantial symptoms and category C which comprises patients with severe symptoms of Covid-19 (with comorbidities) have been instructed to come to the post-Covid clinics for follow-ups.

The General Hospital has been kept as the referral hospital where all the speciality departments are functional all five days a week. Out of the cases being reported, 50 per cent are related to respiratory symptoms, 20 per cent cases are cardiac issues and the remaining include musculoskeletal symptoms.” Since there has been a rise in post-Covid complications in patients, more such clinics will be set up in the district, she added.

In the data collected last week by the authorities at the district medical office, 241 recovered persons were diagnosed with various types of symptoms. While 97 suffered from respiratory issues as a post-Covid complication, 20 patients showed cardiac symptoms. There were 23 patients with musculoskeletal symptoms and 11 with neurological symptoms. Two patients even had psychological symptoms. About 42 patients reported other symptoms while 39 displayed comorbidities. While seven patients were referred to speciality centres, none required hospital admission. Nearly 754 patients were followed up last week through the eSanjeevani platform or telemedicine.

Long-term complications
A 54-year-old homemaker Sheela G (name changed) tested positive for coronavirus on December 15. After 10 days, although she tested negative confirming her recovery, she developed post-Covid complications. “After returning home, I suffered from excessive fatigue and developed swelling under my eyes. Even after a month, I found it difficult to work and had prolonged headaches. I have recurring breathlessness and palpitations. My sense of taste and smell haven’t returned completely,” said the homemaker.

Respiratory problems most common Dr Rajathilakam N K, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Government Medical College Hospital, Kollam, said that the most common Covid-19 complication is a respiratory symptom which includes breathlessness and palpitations. “It further results in respiratory failure and lung fibrosis. Most of them developed pneumonia after suffering from the infection. Less than two per cent of the patients suffered from irreversible lung damage. Patients are also experiencing fatigue and other psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression,” said Rajathilakam.

Dr R Aravind, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, said, “On post-Covid issues, our focus is primarily on signs such as respiratory and cardiac symptoms. “Since more than 900 health workers tested positive for Covid-19, we had been conducting a study on health workers. The study revealed that 20 per cent of Covid symptoms persist after 21 days and five per cent are noticed even after three months. Sixty per cent of the health workers complained of excessive fatigue, 30 per cent had breathing issues, 24 per cent had sleep issues, 20 per cent had hair loss, 15 per cent had headaches and 10 per cent had joint pain,” he said. 


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