The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread globally, with the current figures indicating more than 27 million infections, with over 880,000 lives lost. The recovered patients total about 18 million though some have reported long-term consequences for their body organs.
According to a study in Austria University Clinic in Innsbruck, researchers assessed whether patients experiencing long-term lung and heart damage after the SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 virus infection would improve.
The study evaluated more than 150 patients to establish the outcome after recovering from the COVID-19. Researchers discovered a particular trend in the long-term heart and lung damage to those who recovered, which increased over time.
Persistent COVID-19 Symptoms During the Research
The researchers booked re-evaluation for patients at 12 weeks and 24 weeks following hospital discharge. Researchers assessed the patients' conditions using CT scans, clinical checkups, lab tests, heart echocardiograms (ECG). They also analyzed the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
At six weeks, the researchers realized that almost 66 percent of patients displayed persistent coronavirus symptoms, such as breath shortness and cough. Also, CT scan results showed that approximately 88 percent of the participants had lung damage. However, COVID-19 symptoms improved during the next 12-week visit, with lung damage dropping to 56 percent.
Symptoms Improved Over Time
Reports also indicated that over 50 percent of the discharged patients continued having breathing difficulties and coughing. However, during the 12-week visit, these symptoms improved, although 15 percent were still coughing. Additionally, almost 39 percent experienced shortness of breath.
Also, researchers performed additional lung function tests to measure the amount of exhaled air, oxygen transmission in the blood, and volume of air expelled.
Follow-up reports showed an improvement in all these measurements between six and 12 weeks.
Researchers recorded the CT scan results of the patients and discovered that the overall points in lung damage reduced significantly from the six to 12 weeks. Additionally, the damage caused by coronavirus resulting in inflammation and fluid accumulation in the lungs showed improvement.
ECG results indicated about 58 percent of the patients experienced left ventricular dysfunction in the sixth week. Other results showed an increase in blood clot formation, heart damage, and inflammation.
Additional observation among participants didn't display severe coronavirus-related heart dysfunction after the acute stage. Also, diastolic dysfunction got better over time.
In summary, the discoveries from this research indicate the significance of utilizing systematized follow-up care for severely infected coronavirus patients.
Understanding the impact of long-term coronavirus infections might allow immediate treatment of symptoms and lung damage with crucial further medical recommendations for severe cases.
The Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs
An additional similar study from France indicated that severely infected coronavirus patients who went through early pulmonary rehabilitation during their recovery experienced an improvement in their body organs.
Therefore, these findings emphasize the significance of implementing immediate-early pulmonary rehabilitation for severely infected coronavirus patients. Patients should also ensure they stay active as they enroll in the rehabilitation programs. However, health providers should assess the safety first before they start physical exercise for pulmonary patients.
Final Thoughts On Rehabilitation for COVID-19 Patients
As researchers try to find a possible cure and vaccines for coronavirus, patients should know there are various ways to improve recovery. Ensure to check nearby rehab centers if you need a professional to address your mental health problems during the pandemic.
Also, for the long-term lung and heart damage patients, there is hope through rehabilitation programs to speed up recovery.