Rising Long Covid Cases a New Worry For Hospitals
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Though the second and more deadly wave of the pandemic is receding across the country, doctors are dealing with rising number of long Covid patients with symptoms like persistent body ache, low grade fever, lung fibrosis, pulmonary embolism and brain fogging in the outpatient departments (OPD) of hospitals. Many have mental health issues including anxiety, depression, confusion and loss of memory, new onset of diabetes and hypertension.

Max Healthcare, conducted a study and found that Covid-19 had been contracted by patients in almost 40% of the cases. The symptoms lasted for several months after acute Covid-19 illness.

“Of the 990 patients studied, 31.8% patients had post-Covid symptoms beyond three months, and 11% of the patients continued to have some form of symptoms for as long as 9-12 months from the onset of disease. Of the notable findings, fatigue was found to be the most reported with 12.5% cases followed by myalgia (9.3%). Persistence of breathlessness was also reported significantly more often in those who had severe disease at the onset,” said Sandeep Bhudhiraja, group medical director of Max Super Specialty Hospital in Saket, Delhi.

The study was carried out on patients admitted at three hospitals in north India. “We are seeing more and more cases of long Covid-19 in our OPDs. According to the studies done in many countries abroad, even asymptomatic to mild patients can have these long Covid complications,” said Vivek Nangia, director, pulmonology, Max Super Speciality Hospital. Doctors said they were seeing patients with effects on vital organs, including lungs and eyes.

The Max study also found that patients in the study group reported neuro-psychiatric symptoms like depression, anxiety, brain fog and sleep disorder and persistence of breathlessness. The duration of symptom resolution was significantly associated with severity of illness at the time of admission. However, there were no reports of severe organ damage from the study group. Doctors said they noticed that longer stay in ICUs came with additional complications.

“This time we saw that many had become Covid negative, but they kept staying in ICUs, many with respiratory support. Many patients ended with Covid pneumonias, with a longer convalescence,” said Bishnu Pangrahi, group head, medical services and operations group at Fortis Healthcare.

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