4. Chest X-Ray Shadows
Dr. Kotloff and other clinicians at Penn University run a Post-COVID Recovery Clinic, where another lasting symptom has them concerned: shadows found on patient chest x-rays. The work of determining the cause of these shadows is ongoing. “A number of these patients are coming to the clinic with shortness of breath and persistent shadows on chest X-rays,” Dr. Kotloff said. “The question in my mind is, do we watch and wait or would some of these patients benefit from corticosteroids.”
3. Abnormal Blood Clotting
Abnormal blood clots are some of the most troubling signs of long-term COVID. Though many post-virus symptoms often plague older people, strokes caused by blood clotting have been experienced by younger people after COVID recovery as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the COVID-19 virus acts on blood cells in such a way that “makes them more likely to clump up and form clots.” Blood vessels to the heart and brain can become blocked, leading to heart attack or stroke. The Mayo Clinic points out that blood vessels weakened by COVID-19 can also lead to liver and kidney problems. Keep an eye on your pulse with this Fingertip Oximeter.
2. Autoimmune Response
Some patients at the Post-COVID Recovery Clinic are experiencing an autoimmune response linked to long-term coronavirus symptoms. Dr. Berger explained this condition as an attack on the nervous system similar to that of Guillain-Barre, an autoimmune disease. “Even though [the coronavirus infection is] an acute insult that doesn’t continue, the response to it can leave patients with weakness and other neurological manifestation,” he explains. “But fortunately these are small numbers, very small numbers, of patients.”
He goes on to explain that a person’s stress response triggered by experiencing COVID-19 could also be responsible for bringing pre-existing mental illness to the surface.
1. Organ System Failure
Another founding clinician at Penn University’s Post-COVID Recovery Clinic, Dr. Benjamin Abramoff, noted that they have been seeing patients experiencing multi-organ system failure. This seems to be happening the most with patients who suffered severe illness from COVID-19 and had prolonged stays in the ICU.
Multi-organ system failure could include damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and more. The severity of these long-term COVID symptoms motivated the Penn University clinicians to create integrative programs to treat coronavirus survivors long after their infections are gone.Related: COVID-19 Surge: Dr. Fauci Says to “Hunker Down” This Fall