Australian Study Shows Covid-19 Patients Struggle With Symptoms Months After Recovering
A new Australian study has found many patients who have contracted Covid-19 are still suffering from symptoms months after their infection.
A paper published by the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) tracked 78 adults with the coronavirus after being treated by St Vincent's Hospital between April and June last year.
The ongoing ADAPT study, led by Prof Gail Matthews and Dr David Darley, found 'a considerable proportion of patients experience persistent symptoms after Sars-CoV-2 [Covid-19] infection including fatigue, chest pain and breathlessness'.
"Although more common following severe illness, 35% of community-managed patients within ADAPT have persistent symptoms several months post-infection," he added.
Of the 78 patients, 69 were managed in the community, while nine were admitted to hospital, with two in intensive care.
Darley told The Guardian that 'eight of the patients still had abnormally low total lung capacity, four months after being infected.'
"In patients hospitalised for Covid that's something that needs to be looked at as it may indicate early scarring of the lungs," Darley said.
"Scarring, usually, is irreversible and we don't know whether the scarring associated with Covid could be progressive or not. Sometimes you can have reduced lung capacity just because you've been sick and inactive ... but it won't always be reversible and so doctors should be looking out for this."
According to the publication, 'the average age of the patients was 47, and 39 of them acquired their infection overseas. The most common self-reported medical comorbidities were hypertension and asthma, while 37 patients had no underlying health conditions'.
The study is the first in a series to be published by researchers, with more data being added as the patients and their symptoms are studied over time.
Darley said the report will also study the mental health of the patients.
"We are concerned about the mental health of some patients who have needed quite a lot of help since their diagnosis," Darley said.
"It's been really distressing for them to have a pandemic virus and to not know what they might expect, and also the stigma of having had a virus and the worry that comes with that about being part of transmission."
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