After a year of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, many people are still enduring complications that can last weeks or even months beyond the initial infection. These COVID-19 “long-haulers,” as they are sometimes called, have described a wide array of ongoing physical, cognitive, emotional, and occupational impairments ranging from mild to severe. Himali M. Weerahandi, MD, assistant professor of medicine and population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, has studied patients with long-lasting COVID-19 complications and has observed symptoms that include shortness of breath, fatigue, and cognitive issues.
Dr. Weerahandi is the co-author of an observational study published in January 2021 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City examined the nature of long-term COVID-19 recovery in patients who had been hospitalized with severe symptoms. It is unclear if these problems are related to the virus SARS-CoV-2 itself, a postviral syndrome, or complications related to hospitalization, and Dr. Weerahandi suggests that more research needs to be done.
“The next step is to develop and test tailored rehabilitation interventions so we can build an evidence-based approach to facilitate these patients’ functional recovery,” Dr. Weerahandi tells Pulmonology Advisor. “In addition, policy to support these patients during this time of compromised physical and mental health is important to consider.”
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