Post-Covid Complications in Pulmonary Patients

As we step into the post-pandemic phase we are likely to see patients recovering from Covid come back with either recurrent symptoms or persistent symptoms.

These may be Pulmonary or Non- Pulmonary.

Non-pulmonary symptoms are fatigability, myalgia, malaise & persistent anorexia apart from its impact on mental health. These are usually self-limiting and recover over a period of time.

Most patients with Covid have two broad spectra of pulmonary symptoms.

One is post-infectious airway hyperreactivity. Any viral infections & covid is no exception can lead to persistent inflammation of mucosa lining the breathing tubes. This leads to dry cough, wheezing, chest discomfort & breathlessness. These symptoms persist longer in people with allergic tendencies. In some, this may persist whereas in most this recovers spontaneous or with medicines over a period of time.

Secondly, some people develop lung fibrosis. This is a bit of concern as it can lead to a persistent worsening of breathlessness. This is uncommon and seen in the section of patients with COVID who suffered from severe pneumonia due to COVID. These patients need regular to follow up with pulmonologist and periodically monitor lung functions and initiate specific treatment.

As post-COVID lung healing takes time it is advised to pursue lung hygiene measures aimed at preventing cross infections and improving lung capacity.

Elderly patients, those with chronic lung problems like asthma and COPD and co-morbidities are at high risk of developing post-COVID complications.

Social distancing, hand hygiene, donning of the mask, avoidance of community gathering, poorly ventilated places and long periods in indoor AC setting will minimise cross infections.

Any signs of secondary infections like fever, sputum with the change in colour and increase in quantity and breathlessness are signs of infections. Patients with post-COVID fibrosis should seek early medical help in presence of any of these symptoms.

Manipal Hospital is running a dedicated post covid pulmonary rehab in Mangalore.  Post-COVID lung care reduces Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS), Intensive care unit acquired weakness (ICUAW). Post-COVID-19 rehabilitation centre in Mangalore helps in treating severe complications of COVID-19 include acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis, multi-organ shock, acute kidney injury, cardiac injury, etc.

 

Dr. Vishak Acharya
Consultant - Pulmonary Medicine
Manipal Hospitals, Mangalore

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