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Found 87 results
  1. Content Article
    Documents include: COVID-19 guideline scope: management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 Equality impact assessment Management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 Management of the long-term effects of COVID-19: organisations that responded to targeted peer consultation on the draft scope Management of the long-term effects of COVID-19:Targeted peer consultation on draft scope comments table Summary of consultation comments and responses for COVID-19 guideline scope: management of the long-term effects of COVID-19. To find out more about the guideline and to register as a stakeholder, please follow the link below. For ease, the above documents are also attached below.
  2. News Article
    It has a plethora of symptoms, strikes the young and old, and lasts for months – maybe much longer. It’s also so new that scientists aren’t sure what they’re dealing with. For those whose lives have been deeply affected by long-term repercussions of Covid, the battle to be recognised is just the start. There are thousands of people in the UK dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19, experiencing debilitating symptoms that last for weeks and months beyond the initial infection. One of the most commonly reported is fatigue, along with breathlessness, joint pain and muscle aches. Neurological issues are common, particularly brain ‘fog’ and a loss of memory and concentration. Some have chest pain or heart palpitations, skin rashes, diarrhoea, headaches, hearing or eyesight problems, or hair loss. Others have lost their senses of taste and smell. In online support groups, people are sharing stories of bone-crippling exhaustion, constant pain in their chest or heart, or the inability to remember a name or follow a conversation. These people don’t fit the binary model of the virus we thought we knew – that if you’re in the small minority who are seriously affected you might be hospitalised, end up in ICU or worse; otherwise you’ll likely be better after two weeks. Many only had mild cases originally and were not deemed to be in vulnerable categories. Widely varying symptoms have added to the confusion and fear surrounding the condition, which currently has no formal definition. For months, people with Long Covid had no one to turn to but each other. It’s only recently – through increasing research emerging, and sufferers publicly sharing their stories – that it has started to be taken more seriously. Earlier this month, NHS England announced a £10 million investment to set up one-stop services for physical and mental health issues caused by Covid alongside a Long Covid task force and, crucially, research on 10,000 patients. Not much is known about what causes Long Covid and there is little firm consensus. There are theories it occurs when a patient’s immune system overreacts to the infection, which can lead to widespread inflammation that theoretically affects any organ. Last week, a study by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) suggested Long Covid symptoms could actually be caused by four separate syndromes: post-intensive-care syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome, permanent organ damage to the lungs and heart, or lingering COVID-19 symptoms. Read full story Source: The Telegraph, 24 October 2020
  3. News Article
    Women aged 50-60 are at greatest risk of developing “long Covid”, analysis suggests. Older age and experiencing five or more symptoms within the first week of illness were also associated with a heightened risk of lasting health problems. The study, led by Dr Claire Steves and Prof Tim Spector at King’s College London, analysed data from 4,182 COVID Symptom Study app users who had been consistently logging their health and had tested positive for the virus. In general, women were twice as likely to suffer from Covid symptoms that lasted longer than a month, compared with men – but only until around the age of 60, when their risk level became more similar. Covid vaccine tracker: when will a cor Increasing age was also associated with a heightened risk of long Covid, with about 22% of people aged over 70 suffering for four weeks or more, compared with 10% of people aged between 18 and 49. For women in the 50-60 age bracket, these two risk factors appeared to combine: They were eight times more likely to experience lasting symptoms of Covid-19 compared with 18- to 30-year-olds. However, the greatest difference between men and women was seen among those aged between 40 and 50, where women’s risk of developing long Covid was double that of men’s. “This is a similar pattern to what you see in autoimmune diseases,” said Spector. “Things like rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease and lupus are two to three times more common in women until just before menopause, and then it becomes more similar.” His guess is that gender differences in the way the immune system responds to coronavirus may account for this difference." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 September 2020
  4. Content Article
    Key takeaways Presentation weeks and/or months after ICU discharge Physical and mental tolls of critical illness and care Beware of the possible warning signs, which may include: muscle weakness or problems with balance, problems with thinking and memory, severe anxiety, depression and nightmares The medical community expects to see a high number of PICS cases among COVID-19 survivors due to the increasing number of patients receiving critical care.
  5. News Article
    The Health Secretary is urging the public – and especially young people – to follow the rules and protect themselves and others from COVID-19, as new data and a new film released today reveal the potentially devastating long-term impact of the virus. The symptoms of ‘long COVID’, including fatigue, protracted loss of taste or smell, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and mental health problems, are described in a new film being released today as part of the wider national Hands, Face, Space campaign. The film calls on the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control the spread of the virus. The emotive film features the stories of Jade, 22, Jade, 32, Tom, 32 and John, 48, who explain how their lives have been affected – weeks and months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. They discuss symptoms such as breathlessness when walking up the stairs, intermittent fevers and chest pain. The film aims to raise awareness of the long-term impact of COVID-19 as we learn more about the virus. A new study from King’s College London, using data from the COVID Symptom Study App and ZOE, shows one in 20 people with COVID-19 are likely to have symptoms for 8 weeks or more. The study suggests long COVID affects around 10% of 18 to 49 year olds who become unwell with COVID-19. Read full story Source: Gov.uk, 21 October 2020
  6. Content Article
    Sudre et al. analysed data from 4182 incident cases of COVID-19 who logged their symptoms prospectively in the COVID Symptom Study app. 558 (13.3%) had symptoms lasting >28 days, 189 (4.5%) for >8 weeks and 95 (2.3%) for >12 weeks. Long-COVID was characterised by symptoms of fatigue, headache, dyspnoea and anosmia and was more likely with increasing age, BMI and female sex. Experiencing more than five symptoms during the first week of illness was associated with Long-COVID. This model could be used to identify individuals for clinical trials to reduce long-term symptoms and target education and rehabilitation services. *Note: this article is a preprint and has not been through the peer review process yet.
  7. News Article
    COVID-19 became a pandemic in March 2020, but the after-effects of it are becoming more apparent as many people are suffering from a wide variety of symptoms months after contracting the disease. Long COVID – as it is being called – has been affecting some of the earliest COVID-19 sufferers since the first few months of 2020, but little is known about it and the huge variety of symptoms is making research very difficult. Sky News looks at what the symptoms of long COVID are, how it has affected people's lives, how many are suffering, what treatments there are and how it could affect the economy. Read full story Source: Sky News, 19 October 2020
  8. News Article
    After contracting COVID-19 in March, Michael Reagan lost all memory of his 12-day vacation in Paris even though the trip was just a few weeks earlier. Several weeks after Erica Taylor recovered from her coronavirus symptoms of nausea and cough, she became confused and forgetful, failing to even recognise her own car, the only Toyota Prius in her apartment complex’s parking lot. Lisa Mizelle, a veteran nurse practitioner at an urgent care clinic who fell ill with the virus in July, finds herself forgetting routine treatments and lab tests, and has to ask colleagues about terminology she used to know automatically. It is becoming known as Covid “brain fog”: troubling cognitive symptoms that can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing, dizziness and grasping for everyday words. Increasingly Covid survivors say brain fog is impairing their ability to work and function normally. “There are thousands of people who have that,” said Dr Igor Koralnik, chief of neuro-infectious disease at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, who has already seen hundreds of survivors at a post-Covid clinic he leads. The effect on the workforce that is affected is going to be significant, he added. Read full story Source: The Irish Times, 18 October 2020
  9. Content Article
    Key messages There is a widespread perception that people either die, get admitted to hospital or recover after two weeks. It is increasingly clear that for some people there is a distinct pathway of ongoing effects. There is an urgent need to better understand the symptom journey and the clinical risks that underlie that. People, their families and healthcare professionals need realistic expectations about what to expect. A major obstacle is the lack of consensus on diagnostic criteria for ongoing COVID-19. A working diagnosis that is recognised by healthcare services, employers and government agencies would facilitate access to much needed support and provide the basis for planning appropriate services. Whilst it is too early to give a precise definition, guidance on reaching a working diagnosis and a code for clinical datasets is needed. The fluctuating and multisystem symptoms need to be acknowledged. A common theme is that symptoms arise in one physiological system then abate only for symptoms to arise in a different system. There are significant psychological and social impacts that will have long-term consequences for individuals and for society if not well managed. The multisystem nature of ongoing COVID-19 means that it needs to be considered holistically (both in service provision and in research). The varying degrees of dependency mean support in the community should be considered alongside hospital one-stop clinics. Social support needs to be understood together with the financial pressures on previously economically active people. COVID-19 has a disproportionate effect on certain parts of the population, including care home residents. Black and Asian communities have seen high death rates and there are concerns about other minority groups and the socially disadvantaged. These people are already seldom heard in research as well as travellers, the homeless, those in prisons, people with mental health problems or learning difficulties; each having particular and distinct needs in relation to ongoing Covid19 that need to be understood.
  10. Content Article
    Key aims Reassure patients they have not been forgotten during the coronavirus pandemic. Establish the patient's wishes regarding treatment. Good communication with patient and GP. Produce a validated waiting list that allows operating lists to run effectively. All Trusts are required to complete a clinical validation of patients on an admitted patient care pathway by 23 October, and for it to be captured in NHS e-Review. Trusts will be required to identify four user groups for the system; a user to upload patients to the system, an administrator, a super user to upload and download waiting lists and the outcomes from clinical reviews, and a clinical reviewer who is responsible for reviewing a cohort of patients within a specialty. Letter to healthcare providers and bodies Video software overview
  11. Content Article
    A significant backlog of elective surgical cases has built up during the COVID-19 crisis. The freeze on elective surgery has produced a waiting list that may take years to clear. In the US, the CDC has issued guidelines that "facilities should establish a prioritization policy committee consisting of surgery, anesthesia and nursing leadership to develop a prioritization strategy appropriate to the immediate patient needs". According to the CDC, this committee should work around 'objective priority scoring'. The MeNTS (Medically-Necessary, Time-Sensitive Procedures) instrument is a clever attempt to deliver this scoring, responding to availability of resources and the situation around COVID-19. However, the key challenge is that that the list needs to be prioritised in a way that reflects patient needs and ensures their safety. This is not something that MeNTS can deliver. It also is built around COVID-19 related limitations on resources and this will vary in significance depending on the hospital location and where it is in the journey out of lockdown. The risks of mortality and complications for a patient are a complex combination of the severity of the procedure and the physiological variables of the patient. As an example, a 55-year-old undergoing a radical laproscopic prostatectomy has a risk of mortality of 1.6%. However, if the patient has low blood pressure, that risk triples. If the patient also has low sodium then the risk is 10 times higher [C2-Ai insights]. The spectrum of different operations and key physiological variables creates at least 40 million potential combinations and hence risk. This is hard to manage with one patient but trying to prioritse a group of 5, 10, 100, 1,000 or even 10,000 becomes unmanageable. New patients will be joining the list while others leave following their procedures and so triage of the list will not be a one-off event. The list will need to be populated and triaged intelligently and in a consistent way repeatedly at least until there is a return to ‘normality’. There is evidence that some trusts are attempting to build their own systems for prioritisation. This may be possible around matching operative type and resource availability but the efficiency of these systems overall should be a concern. Best intentions are fine but, when reviewed later, the ability to correctly prioritise patients to minimise harm and mortality is likely to be limited if not flawed. C2-Ai’s COMPASS Surgical List Triage system is an example of a system that can support evidence-based triage and individualised risk assessment of patients, while supporting the objectives of the CDC. It supports clinical decision making across all phases from crisis back to steady state. It has been developed by the creator of the POSSUM system and is built around the world’s largest patient data set (140 million records from 46 countries) through the support of NHS Digital. The underlying algorithms are constantly refined against new and existing data sets to ensure relevance and accuracy. The Surgical List Triage tool combines the mortality and complication risks from the different patients to derive the prioritisation. The system carries out bulk assessments using individualised risk assessments for each patient. These reflect the operative type and their physiology to calculate the risk of mortality and complications, as well as providing a detailed breakdown of potential complications with percentage probability with a simple click. This system also suggests patients that should be reviewed for potential optimisation before any procedure. The physician can click on the link to see the detailed risks for the patient to support their decision making. The system can be used regularly to maintain the logic and integrity of the elective surgical list. This is superior to the potentially fragmented approach where parts of the list are manually considered in isolation as this cannot support effective optimisation of the whole list and the absence of any supporting evidence means the triage will vary enormously. COMPASS SLT is an evidence-based approach that supports optimal ordering of the list and clinical decision making that reduces avoidable harm and mortality. This in turn reduces variation, and cost while freeing bed capacity and also allowing the list to be tackled more quickly. When a patient comes in for the operation, an individual risk-assessment can be done using the COMPASS Pre-Operative Risk Assessment app. This provides a final check on whether the patient’s condition would justify optimising their condition before their procedure. However, it also details the most likely post-procedural complications individualised for the patient and their condition. That allows the treatment pathway to be tailored to that patient as well as recruiting the patient into their own recovery. For example, knowing that chest infection is the highest risk for a patient supports a conversation with them to stress the need for them to get up and about on the day of the operation. As an aside, the risk of mortality and complications can also be used as a strong element in showing informed consent has been obtained from the patient. In combination, these tools can provide a platform to support effective and ongoing triage of the list while reducing harm and unnecessary costs. The systems are currently in use in 12 trusts in the NHS. How are you prioritising waiting lists? We'd be interested to hear and share how you and your trust are dealing with the backlog.
  12. Content Article
    Speaking at the NHS Providers conference today Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, announced that £10 million will be invested into additional local funding "to help kick start and designate Long Covid clinics in every area across England".[1] Patient safety concerns for Long COVID patients Long Covid patients are people with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 who continue to struggle with prolonged, debilitating and sometimes severe symptoms months later.[2] Many were never admitted to hospital and have instead been trying to manage their symptoms and recovery at home. At Patient Safety Learning we have seen growing evidence that there are many patients suffering from long-lasting symptoms of Covid-19 who are feeling abandoned, confused and without support. We have featured patient insights of this on the hub, our platform for patient safety, such as the experiences of Barbara Melville and Dr Jake Suett.[3] Informed by patients we have also been highlighting the patient safety issues arising from this.[4] In September we heard from many Long Covid patients who have expressed confusion about access post-Covid support clinics. This followed comments from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP at the Health and Social Care Select Committee in which he suggested this support was already available.[5] We wrote to Simon Stevens calling on the NHS to publish details of post-Covid support clinics and confirm the timeframe for the implementation of Phase 2 of the ‘Your Covid Recovery’ support portal.[6] Reflections on today’s announcement The NHS announcement today sets out a five-part package of support people living with Long Covid: 1. New guidance commissioned by NHS England from NICE by the end of October on the medical ‘case definition’ of Long Covid. This will include patients who have had Covid who may not have had a hospital admission or a previous positive test. It will be followed by evidence-based NICE clinical guidelines in November on the support that Long Covid patients should receive, enabling NHS doctors, therapists and staff to provide a clear and personalised treatment plan. This will include education materials for GPs and other health professionals to help them refer and signpost patients to the right support. We welcome this measure and plans to update guidance so that it includes patients who may not have had a hospital admission or a previous positive test. We have heard from patients who have expressed their frustrations around the lack of clinical recognition of their illness, exacerbated by receiving a negative test result. This new guidance should enable health care providers in primary and secondary care to properly capture information about patients that have Long Covid. This should help to create a better understanding of how many patients are experiencing this disease and the services they are receiving. It will also be essential to ensure that service providers are appropriately funded to support these patients. 2. The ‘Your Covid Recovery’ – an online rehab service to provide personalised support to patients. Over 100,000 people have used the online hub since it launched in July, which gives people general information and advice on living with long Covid. Phase 2 of the digital platform being developed this Autumn by the University of Leicester will see people able to access a tailored rehabilitation plan. This will enable patients to set goals for their mental and physical health, provide peer to peer support through social community forums, offer an ‘ask the expert’ facility for patients to contact their local rehab service, and allow patients to be monitored by their local rehab teams to ensure that they are on track with their care. This service will be available to anyone suffering symptoms that are likely due to COVID-19, regardless of location or whether they have spent time in hospital. It is most likely that patients will access the service through their GP, but they could also be referred through another healthcare professional following assessment. From our conversations with patients and community support groups, we are aware that concerns remain about the availability of support for those who have been managing their symptoms at home. Patients have highlighted that much of the ‘Your Covid Recovery’ site focuses only on those patients who have been in hospital. It is essential that patients that are living in the community with Long Covid can access advice and guidance specific to their needs. We are concerned that access to information and advice is only accessible through GPs or another healthcare professional following assessment. We need to ensure that this referral route does not become a barrier to Long Covid patients having the information and advice they need. 3. Designated Long Covid clinics, as announced today. This will involve each part of the country designating expert one-stop services in line with an agreed national specification. Post-Covid services will provide joined up care for physical and mental health, with patients having access to: – A physical assessment, which will include diagnostic testing, to identify any potential chronic health issues. – A cognitive assessment, to assess any potential memory, attention, and concentration problems. – A psychological assessment, to see if someone is suffering potentially from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or another mental health condition. Patients could also then be referred from designated clinics into specialist lung disease services, sleep clinics, cardiac services, rehabilitation services, or signposted into IAPT and other mental health services. We welcome this commitment to a one-stop shop approach to support for Long COVID patients. It is important that we recognise that patients may need to access a wide range of services and that patients who are unwell should not have to move between different clinical specialities to get diagnosis and treatment related to their personal needs. The £10m initial investment is to be welcomed as is the national specification; it is important that we do not have a postcode lottery of services. As the infection rate increases, so will the number of patients with Long Covid. The investment in services will need to match patient need, both initial assessment and diagnosis and access to specialist treatment, support services and ongoing rehabilitation. We also note that these appear to be England-only measures and would be keen to clarify what steps are being put in place to support patients in the other three nations of the UK. 4. NIHR-funded research on Long Covid which is working with 10,000 patients to better understand the condition and refine appropriate treatment. This is welcomed and should inform the development of clinical pathways and best practice guidelines. 5. The NHS’s support will be overseen by a new NHS England Long Covid taskforce which will include long Covid patients, medical specialists and researchers. This is a new disease and we do not yet understand how best to support patients with Long Covid. We believe that a multi-disciplinary task force that engages and welcomes patients' insights is essential. What are your thoughts? Further to our initial reflections on this, we would be keen to hear from people living with Long Covid on their thoughts on this announcement. Please share your thoughts with us on the support that is needed on our patient safety platform, the hub. References NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS To Offer ‘Long Covid’ Sufferers Help at Specialist Centres, 7 October 2020. The symptoms for those with Long COVID vary greatly but many are experiencing rashes, shortness of breath, neurological and gastrointestinal problems, abnormal temperatures, cardiac symptoms, and extreme fatigue. Barbara Melville, Dismissed, unsupported and misdiagnosed: Interview with a COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 24 June 2020; Dr Jake Suett, My experience of suspected ‘Long COVID’, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 10 July 2020. Patient Safety Learning, Patient safety concerns for Long COVID patients, 6 July 2020. Rt Hon. Matt Hancock MP commented in a select committee that “The NHS set up Long COVID clinics and announced them in July. I am concerned by reports this morning from the Royal College of GPs that not all GPs know how to ensure that people can get into those services. That is something I will take up with the NHS and that I am sure we will be able to resolve”. Health and Social Care Committee, Oral evidence: Social care: funding and workforce, HC 206, 8 September 2020. Patient Safety Learning, Clarity needed on post-COVID clinics: Patient Safety Learning's letter to NHS leader, 11 September 2020.
  13. News Article
    NHS England will spend £10m on new clinics for ‘long covid’ sufferers, it was announced yesterday. Sir Simon Stevens, NHSE chief executive, told the NHS Providers annual conference the clinics would offer support to the “probably hundreds of thousands” of people suffering persisting symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and ‘brain fog’ months after being infected with COVID-19. It comes amid growing calls for wider services to support people with ‘long covid,’ as hospital follow-up clinics are generally only open to those who were previously admitted with the virus. HSJ was last month only able to identify one genuine “long covid clinic”, despite claims by health secretary Matt Hancock they had “announced them in July”. It appears that comment was a mistake. Speaking about long covid, he said: “The NHS has got to be just as responsive and agile in respect of… new needs, including long covid, as we were in repurposing critical care, and ventilators, and acute capacity in the first phase in March, April and May." “Today we are going to be allocating £10m to establish a network of designated long covid clinics across the country, which, in line with new NICE guidelines on effective treatment pathways, will offer support for the tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of patients who have got long covid.” Sir Simon also told the conference today that NHSE was “enthusiastic” about introducing regular asymptomatic covid testing for NHS staff “if and when” it is recommended by the government chief medical officer, and when Test and Trace has enough capacity. There are growing calls for regular testing of asymptomatic NHS staff, especially in hotspot areas, including from former health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Sir Simon said it was “something the chief medical officer and the test and trace programme are continuing to review”. He said: “We would be enthusiastic about doing that if and when that is the clinical recommendation and if and when the Test and Trace programme has got the testing capacity to do that. The plan was always that it would largely have to be sourced out of the total testing capacity available to the nation, not just the NHS labs.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 7 October 2020 Read Patient Safety Learning's response to this news Please share your thoughts with us on the support that is needed on our patient safety platform, the hub.
  14. News Article
    People suffering 'Long Covid’ symptoms will be offered specialist help at clinics across England, the head of the NHS announced today. Respiratory consultants, physiotherapists, other specialists and GPs will all help assess, diagnose and treat thousands of sufferers who have reported symptoms ranging from breathlessness, chronic fatigue, 'brain fog', anxiety and stress. Speaking at the NHS Providers conference today (Wednesday), NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens will announce that £10 million is be invested this year in additional local funding to help kick start and designate Long Covid clinics in every area across England, to complement existing primary, community and rehabilitation care. Sir Simon said new network will be a core element of a five-part package of measures to boost NHS support for Long Covid patients: New guidance commissioned by NHS England from NICE by the end of October on the medical ‘case definition’ of Long Covid. This will include patients who have had covid who may not have had a hospital admission or a previous positive test. It will be followed by evidence-based NICE clinical guidelines in November on the support that Long Covid patients should receive, enabling NHS doctors, therapists and staff to provide a clear and personalised treatment plan. This will include education materials for GPs and other health professionals to help them refer and signpost patients to the right support. The ‘Your Covid Recovery’ – an online rehab service to provide personalised support to patients. Over 100,000 people have used the online hub since it launched in July, which gives people general information and advice on living with Long Covid. Phase 2 of the digital platform will see people able to access a tailored rehabilitation plan. This service will be available to anyone suffering symptoms that are likely due to COVID-19, regardless of location or whether they have spent time in hospital. Designated Long Covid clinics, as announced today. This will involve each part of the country designating expert one-stop services in line with an agreed national specification. Post-covid services will provide joined up care for physical and mental health, with patients having access to a physical assessment, a cognitive assessment and a psychological assessment. Patients could also then be referred from designated clinics into specialist lung disease services, sleep clinics, cardiac services, rehabilitation services, or signposted into IAPT and other mental health services. NIHR- funded research on Long Covid which is working with 10,000 patients to better understand the condition and refine appropriate treatment. The NHS’s support will be overseen by a new NHS England Long Covid taskforce which will include Long Covid patients, medical specialists and researchers. Read full story Source: NHS England, 7 October 2020 Read Patient Safety Learning's response to this news Please share your thoughts with us on the support that is needed on our patient safety platform, the hub.
  15. News Article
    For most people, COVID-19 is a brief and mild disease but some are left struggling with symptoms including lasting fatigue, persistent pain and breathlessness for months. The condition known as "long Covid" is having a debilitating effect on people's lives, and stories of being left exhausted after even a short walk are now common. There is no medical definition or list of symptoms shared by all patients - two people with long Covid can have very different experiences. However, the most common feature is crippling fatigue. Others symptoms include: breathlessness, a cough that won't go away, joint pain, muscle aches, hearing and eyesight problems, headaches, loss of smell and taste as well as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and gut. Mental health problems have been reported including depression, anxiety and struggling to think clearly. Long Covid is not just people taking time to recover from a stay in intensive care. Even people with relatively mild infections can be left with lasting and severe health problems. "We've got no doubt long Covid exists," Prof David Strain, from the University of Exeter, who is already seeing long-Covid patients at his Chronic Fatigue Syndrome clinic, told the BBC. A study of 143 people in Rome's biggest hospital, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed hospital patients after they were discharged. It showed 87% had at least one symptom nearly two months later and more than half still had fatigue. The Covid Symptom Tracker App - used by around four million people in the UK - found 12% of people still had symptoms after 30 days. Its latest, unpublished data, suggests as many as one in 50 (2%) of all people infected have long-Covid symptoms after 90 days. The number of people with long-Covid appears to be falling with time. However, the virus emerged only at the end of 2019 before going global earlier this year so there is a lack of long-term data. "We've asked, deliberately, to follow people for 25 years, I certainly hope only a very small number will have problems going beyond a year, but I could be wrong," said Prof Brightling. However, there are concerns that even if people appear to recover now, they could face lifelong risks. People who have had chronic fatigue syndrome are more likely to have it again and the concern is that future infections may cause more flare-ups. "If long Covid follows the same pattern I'd expect some recovery, but if it takes just another coronavirus infection to react then this could be every winter," said Prof Strain. It is still possible more problems could emerge in the future. Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 October 2020
  16. News Article
    Melissa Vanier, a 52-year-old postal worker from Vancouver, had just returned from holiday in Cuba when she fell seriously ill with COVID-19. “For the entire month of March I felt like I had broken glass in my throat,” she says, describing a range of symptoms that included fever, migraines, extreme fatigue, memory loss and brain fog. “I had to sleep on my stomach because otherwise it felt like someone was strangling me.” By the third week of March, Vanier had tested negative for Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19. But although the virus had left her body, this would prove to be just the beginning of her problems. In May, she noticed from her Fitbit that her heart rate appeared to be highly abnormal. When cardiologists conducted a nuclear stress test – a diagnostic tool that measures the blood flow to the heart – it showed she had ischaemic heart disease, meaning that the heart was not getting sufficient blood and oxygen. Similar stories illustrate a wider trend – that the coronavirus can leave patients with lasting heart damage long after the initial symptoms have dissipated. Cardiologists are still trying to find out exactly why some people are left with enduring heart problems despite having had an apparently mild bout of COVID-19. The underlying mechanisms are thought to be slow and subtle changes that are quite different to those that put strain on the heart during the acute illness, especially in patients who have been hospitalised with the disease. Some cardiologists have suggested that treatments such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin or beta blockers may help patients with lingering cardiovascular effects many weeks or months after the initial infection, but the evidence remains limited. “It is too early to share data on this,” says Mitrani. “But these therapies have proven efficacy in other inflammatory heart muscle diseases. They have anti-inflammatory effects and we believe may help counter some of the lingering pro-inflammatory effects from Covid-19.” But for patients such as Vanier, there remains a long and uncertain road to see whether her heart does fully recover from the impact of the virus. “Psychologically this has been brutal,” she says. “I haven’t been back to work since I went on holiday in February. The heart hasn’t improved, and I now have to wait for more tests to see if they can find out more.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 4 October 2020
  17. News Article
    A 33-year-old woman says she's been suffering awful coronavirus symptoms for six months and says it's "ruined her life". Stephanie, from London, says her symptoms began in mid-March when she started experiencing loss of taste and smell, body aches, headaches, a fever, shivering, hot and cold sweats, and sickness. But six months later she still has had no sense of taste and smell, she suffers brain fog and chronic fatigue and says just walking across her flat leaves her chest feeling tight. The photographer, who lives alone, says she sleeps for 10-12 hours but is still always tired. "I'm only 33," she said. Stephanie wants to raise awareness of 'long Covid' and says more research needs to be done on how to treat the long-term effects of the disease. She said she's scared she'll 'never be the same again'. Stephanie says she has a hospital appointment on Friday to have tests on her lungs and heart as doctors are concerned she has lung damage. She added: "I think some people don't believe in long Covid, so I want to raise awareness of what people are going through. We need more research of how to treat people with long Covid because there isn't much available, it's so awful." Read full story Source: Mirror, 1 October 2020
  18. News Article
    Long Covid could be a bigger public health crisis than excess deaths as the condition leaves patients in agony, experts have warned. Patients overcoming the coronavirus and suffering with long Covid have reported symptoms such as chronic fatigue - months after they first contracted the virus. It was previously reported that 60,000 Britains struck by “long-Covid” have been ill for three months with some left in wheelchairs. People who were previously fit and healthy who have recovered from the virus have in some cases been left bed ridden and unable to climb the stairs. Now a report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is recommending that the Government highlight the issue in awareness campaigns. The report, titled 'Long Covid: Reviewing the Science and Assessing the Risk', states that awareness campaigns could encourage the use of face masks and coverings. The authors of the report state: “Long Covid is likely a bigger issue than excess deaths as a result of Covid, but, crucially, the risk must be considered alongside the economic impact and other health impacts linked to Covid restrictions." Read full story Source: The Sun, 5 October 2020
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