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Post COVID-19 syndrome

Post COVID-19 syndrome is not one condition and is defined as signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with COVID-19 which continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

Doctors are increasingly faced with patients with Post COVID-19 syndrome in which patients are no longer infectious, do not have a symptom of acute disease, but still have serious complications that require further monitoring and treatment. The symptoms associated with this syndrome are disturbing, impairing daily functioning, and last for weeks.

The results of a clinical study conducted in Italy, and published in The Journal of the Medical Association, confirmed that two months after the first symptoms of COVID-19, only 12.6% of individuals were asymptomatic, 32% had one to two symptoms, and 55% were with three or more symptoms. The most at-risk patients for developing Post COVID-19 complications are those individuals with COVID-19 who developed moderate to severe disease who have been hospitalized and supported with oxygen or those who been required admission to an intensive care unit with supportive therapies including intubation and ventilation.

Post COVID-19 syndrome does not only occur in people who have had a severe form of COVID-19 but is also seen in people who have had a mild form of the disease, and include a range of troubling physical symptoms, such as severe fatigue and increased risk of damage to the heart, lungs, and brain. The most common symptoms observed in people who have experienced COVID-19 are related to the respiratory system and manifest as a subjective feeling of shortness of breath, chest pain, or a dry cough. Other symptoms that appear in patients after overcoming the so-called acute stages of COVID-19 include prolonged loss of taste and smell, chronic fatigue, impaired memory and concentration, night sweats, muscle and joint pain, headaches, skin rash, or hair loss. There is a whole cascade of processes after SARS-CoV-2 infections, which lead to microcirculation disorders, increased tendency for blood clots, which could consequently affect all organs and lead to pulmonary embolism or stroke. Pulmonary embolisms occur in some patients in the acute phase of COVID-19 disease as part of the overall pathophysiological events, but some patients after COVID infection in the recovery phase have an increased tendency to form blood clots and the risk of developing pulmonary embolism. Some patients are at higher risk to develop lung fibrosis. Although COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, the incidence of neurological symptoms such as insomnia, sweating, cranial nerve deficits, convulsions, encephalitis, paralysis, etc., has led neurologists to increasingly speak of a separate Post COVID neurological syndrome. In addition, several conditions in the field of psychiatry have been observed, such as dementia-like syndromes, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Post COVID-19 syndrome require integrated rather than organ or disease-specific approaches, and urgent research is needed to establish the risk factors. According to the above, the St. Catherine Specialty Hospital has formed a multidisciplinary team of experts who care for patients with Post COVID-19 syndrome and provides them with comprehensive diagnostic procedures, timely prevention of complications, and optimal treatment.

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