Physicians who saw a growing number of patients struggling with post-coronavirus respiratory issues and lingering symptoms hope that a new clinic specifically designed to promote recovery will address this population’s needs. The Post-COVID-19 Clinic, launched by doctors at UC Davis Health, will be open to anyone who is at least one month past the start of coronavirus symptoms.
“It’s frustrating and frightening for them,” Mark Avdalovic, a pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist at UC Davis Health, said in a news release. “There are many who are still suffering a wide array of symptoms despite being many weeks out from their initial infection, and they don’t know why. They deserve to have these symptoms evaluated in a systemic fashion.”
The clinic, which will open near UC Davis, which is west of Sacramento, and at regional centers in California, will be comprised of pulmonary health specialists, as well as cardiovascular, immunology and neurologic teams as not all patients experience the same lingering issues. The clinic will also be paired with UC Davis Health research to study the impact of so-called “long-COVID.”
“They’re anxious and confused, and they want to know if anything is really wrong with them,” Avdalovic, said, of the clinic’s potential patients. “Rather than going from doctor to doctor and not getting all of their issues examined at once, our goal is to evaluate them comprehensively, find the causes and add other UC Davis specialists to their care teams as needed.”
UC Davis is among a growing number of medical facilities turning its attention to post-COVID recovery. A recent study out of U.K.’s King’s College London claimed to identify risk factors that can lead to “long-COVID.” They found the most common lingering symptoms reported were fatigue, headache, dyspnea and anosmia, and that they were most likely to occur in older patients, those with a higher BMI and in patients who were female.
Long-COVID patients were also more likely to report heart symptoms or trouble concentrating, the researchers said.
“COVID-19 is a mild illness for many, but for one in 50 symptoms can persist for longer than 12 weeks,” the study’s lead author wrote. “So it’s important that as well as worrying about excess deaths, we also need to consider those who will be affected by long COVID if we don’t get the pandemic under control soon. As we wait for a vaccine, it is vital that we all work together to stem the spread of coronavirus via lifestyle changes and more rigorous self-isolating with symptoms or positive tests.”