Lots of people that have suffered from and then recovered from the virus are seeking medical help for its long-lasting effects
Translated by Racheal Adeniyi
Patients diagnosed with the Coronavirus that were not hospitalised seem to recover slower than those admitted to hospital, says a survey amongst pulmonologists in the Netherlands. As reported by the NOS. It is notable that a wave of ex-COVID-19 patients with respiratory problems and fatigue are being seen in the outpatient clinic.
“We are surprised by the high number of ex-COVID-19 patients who now come to us with complaints,” says Leon van den Toorn, chairman of the pulmonary association of the Netherlands. These groups of patients were initially not hospitalised, but general practitioners are now referring them to hospital because their complaints are persisting.
The Dutch Association of Physicians for Pulmonary Diseases and Tuberculosis (NVALT) conducted a survey to which approximately 100 physicians responded to examine the impact of the Coronavirus in the human system for an extended time.
“We see that almost all patients complain about persistent laboured breathing, and low levels of energy, while the abnormalities on the lung photos are quite minor,” says Van der Toorn. He says that this needs more research: “the immune system may be less cranked up during a ‘mild’ course of the disease so that fewer antibodies are released, and the recovery is therefore slower.” An antibody test is also often negative in this type of patient.
Earlier it became clear that people with a COVID-19 infection sometimes stay ill for weeks to months and suffer from complaints for an extended period. The Healthcare Institute advised Minister Van Ark this week to offer these people a more comprehensive reimbursement for the care they need because they have long-lasting lung complaints.
Marjolein Borsboom, an ex-COVID-19 patient, says that “I still suffer from my airways, I am drained and still cannot work completely.” Borsboom is one of the people who had ‘mild’ complaints. “I tested positive in March, and four months later, I’m still recovering.” After a few weeks, she seemed to be better, but then she relapsed, “From then on, I haven’t recovered,” says Borsboom. “I still suffer from my airways. I am exhausted and still cannot work fully. After several hours of effort, I am exhausted.”
In addition to the physical complaints, patients who have been kept indoors at home also often have memory problems and experience mental unrest. A referral to a physiotherapist, neurologist, or psychologist can help them with the complaints they experience, but it is not yet clear whether these treatments are effective. According to Van den Toorn, this is a question for the coming months.