The patients recovered from Covid-19 are at risk of developing Lung Fibrosis or scarring of the lungs that causes fatigue and shortness of breath said the doctors at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Hindustan Times reported.
Most of the patients get fully recovered from Covid-19 while some go through some symptoms like breathlessness, fatigue, erratic heartbeat, gastrointestinal problems, and muscle and joint pains for several weeks. A few develop irreversible cardiovascular and respiratory damage.
AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said,“If you look at the available data, about 60 to 80% of the individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 may have some form of sequelae (a condition caused by another disease). It can be mild in the form of fatigue and body aches. But it can also be very serious in the form of individuals requiring to be on long-term oxygen therapy. We have had two individuals who have had extensive lung fibrosis and are being advised lung transplants. And we have people who have significant cardiac abnormalities and stroke,”
The country’s first lung transplant in a Covid-19 patient was performed in Chennai in the end of August.
However, a lot of doctors have warned that apart from lung fibrosis there are other risks to a patient physically as well as psychologically.
Dr.Guleria is one of the doctors who have warned about psychiatric disorders due to Lockdown and social distancing measures which is being taken to prevent the spread of the disease.
Dr Anant Mohan, head of the pulmonary medicine department in AIIMS, said doctors were likely to see several patients with prevalence of lung fibrosis.
“There is no estimate of prevalence of post-Covid-19 fibrosis but given the volume of Covid-19 cases, even if it is a small percentage, the absolute numbers are likely to be huge,” he added. “Lung transplant is an option for a very select group of people – those with extensive fibrosis and acute respiratory distress but who do not have other co-morbidities like renal dysfunction and muscle wasting after Covid-19.”
He also mentioned that only 12.6% of all recovered Covid-19 trial participants were completely symptom-free after two months, 32% had one or two symptoms, and 55% had three or more symptoms — the most common of which are fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, and cough.
Another Doctor, Saurav Mittal has informed about three cases of post-COVID-19 complications.
The first case that he talked about was of a healthy 65-year-old man who has developed persistent fibrosis even after being previously healthy and is now oxygen-dependent.In second case he mentioned 43-year-old healthy man was to demonstrate how even after getting better. Covid-19 patients might develop blood clots in the lungs and secondary infections that can lead to deterioration. The third case was of a 45-year-old man who had mild disease. He developed a fever after 15 days this demonstrates the patient might be going through another infection such as dengue and it is responsible for later symptoms.
Although Dr Mohan added “There is no estimate of the prevalence of post-COVID-19 fibrosis but given the volume of Covid-19 cases, even if it is a small percentage, the absolute numbers are likely to be huge,”
The doctors also stated that based on the research of fibrosis caused by other coronavirus diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) shows that the people at the age of 65 with some major diagnosis had a major need of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Ventilator support however those who drink or smoke are at higher risk of developing fibrosis.
About heart, Dr Ambuj Roy, professor from the department of cardiology at AIIMS said,“Once a patient recovers from Covid-19, we cannot lower our guards. As we have seen in the case of severe pneumonia, the risk of heart attack goes up by as much as six times. We need to closely follow the recovered Covid-19 patients who have multiple risk factors. Those who are on cardio-protective medicines should continue taking them diligently and those with higher risk should also be prescribed these medicines.”
He also discussed the report from Germany which showed that among 100 recovered Covid-19 patients, 78 had some cardiac involvement and 60 had ongoing inflammation of the heart muscle.
Professor Pratima Murthy, head of psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru said “In the beginning, there was a lot of anxiety of getting Covid-19 and stress and depression due to the lockdown. When patients get admitted to hospitals, there are various social and economic factors at play that can lead to extreme depression, suicidal attempts and suicides. People may also develop post traumatic stress disorder about their hospitalisation experience. The inflammatory diseases are known to impact the central nervous system and may trigger mood disorders. It can also increase the risk of schizophrenia and psychosis.”
Last month, experts had informed that the coronavirus can affect not only the lungs but almost all parts of a body as it is a “multi-systemic disease”.