Doctors from Mendoza perfect strategies to face the post-Covid consequences

Until now, they have been typified around 200 sequels that can leave the disease. And although at the beginning of the pandemic the World Health Organization indicated that one in ten infected would suffer the “Long Covid”, today the Ómicron variant and its light paintings allow illusions with a much lower proportion.

Anyway, Mendoza -which until Friday, January 14 had a total of 210.791 recorded Covid cases– has already paved its own way in dealing with this type of patient.

Torres said that consultations for sequels they arrive late. “They usually come between a month and a half and two months after having passed through the disease. And this is because at the beginning they think the problem will go away. As time passes and they see that they do not improve, they go to the doctors,” he explained, and stressed that if one notices any decrease in their abilities, “they should make the visit within the same month in which he was discharged.”

“People underestimate the virus”Torres insisted. “Neurocognitive tests tell us that patients arrive with a deterioration of almost 10% respect to their previous capacities, so they require rehabilitation”.

The interviewee stated that, in general, private clinics in Mendoza did not open specific areas post Covid, but instead refer attention directly to cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, etc.; focusing on the rehabilitations.

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The rise in infections coincides with a majority of mild cases, but the consequences of Covid can last for months.

Consequences of the coronavirus

In the public institutions gymnastics was a little different. There they learned very quickly, because the waves with hundreds and hundreds of infected of the most diverse social extraction was forcing them to organize.

Dr. Roxana Cabrera is the director of Hospital Lagomaggiore and reviewed: “since January of last year we launched the program Post Covid care, which is intended for our patients who had moderate or severe symptoms. At that time we did not know how the aftermath and we didn’t want to leave them adrift.

Doctors Pablo Limia, Soledad Lascano and Andrea Gasull shouldered the project and so far it has been possible to follow the evolution of more than 350 people those who were discharged and who nevertheless -due to age, comorbidities or the aggression with which the virus attacked them- could need care.

“If it is necessary to check them a week or a month, we do it. But in general we contacted after two months to check how those lungs have turned out, we add a neurological evaluation, etc. It is a complete analysis,” described Cabrera.

The doctor assured that with these monitoring “it was achieved that there are no patients with serious sequelae“. “Maybe someone who had a comorbidity was a little more affected, but in general they have continued well,” he summarized.

He cited the case of a chronic smoker who after being infected was left with less lung capacity.

And he kept smoking— ironized.

One more fact: the Neurology residents of the same hospital did a special investigation on the headaches -in Creole, headaches-, since they are another of the consequences that was detected in a large part of those recovered.

Omicron and a different stage

Before the rise of OmicronCabrera allowed himself optimism. “Unlike what happened in the first and second waves, most of the positives are no longer staying in the hospital. They go home with a feeling similar to the flu. We give them some warning guidelines to keep an eye out and usually that’s the end of the matter. They are not serious pictures and we hope that the sequels will not be either“, he detailed.

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The occupation that Cabrera had in his ICU beds until a few days ago invites us to think that another stage is coming. Of 21 intensive care beds, only 2 were intended for Covid patients -two women who did not receive the vaccines-, and there was a third suspected case, a man who does have the complete scheme but has several comorbidities.

“Then we have 11 beds with people who suffered other inconveniences. But if you add up, today only 10% of therapy is occupied by confirmed cases of coronavirus,” said the director of the Lagomaggiore. Obviously, if infections continue to grow at the current rate the picture could change quickly.

“We still don’t know what sequels may come”

Marcos Grana He is in charge of the Department of Rehabilitation of the Carmen Hospital, the main health care center for adult members of the Social Work of Public Employees of Mendoza (OSEP).

“From the beginning we had to redirect resources to cushion the impact of the emergency, and that included learning to work with patients post covid, not only during the most critical stage but when they needed to reintegrate into the world; to work and their routines,” says the doctor.

To the rhythm of the pandemic, in their area they focused fundamentally on the “post” pictures that they liked the most: neurological and respiratory. Rehabilitation begins as soon as patients are able to face it.

“Those who spend months hospitalized usually suffer from polyneuropathies, their nerves become inflamed, etc. We have to start a follow-up so that little by little they can resume their life“, marks Graña. Severe cases, spending so much time with respirators and relatively immobile in bed, require someone to help them “come back” from all that.

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Covid ICUs require very active work by specialists.  And a long stay there can leave sequels in patients.

Covid ICUs require very active work by specialists. And a long stay there can leave sequels in patients.

“Then you have patients who have not had severe symptoms but arrive at the hospital with cognitive complaints. Feel slow to think or forget things. We are seeing that even with mild Covid cases. So we do tests to see if they have had any injuries. The cause of these inconveniences is still not clear, but just in case we check them and help them recover,” says the doctor.

“And then you have another group, less numerous, which is that of those whom the Covid triggered some type of neurological complication of greater magnitude. At the beginning of the pandemic – not so much now – we saw patients who had suffered a stroke or brain hemorrhage after contracting coronavirus”, recalls the doctor.

The criterion is to accompany the “post” from the beginning. “We are following them from therapy until they are active again“, defines Graña. “We are with them when they are hospitalized, when they go to intermediate therapy and when they are already in an outpatient situation. In fact, in El Carmen we have a specific area for the most advanced stages, the Ayacahuina Rehabilitation Center”.

—And today, do former Omicron variant patients arrive with neurological sequelae? Because with so many infected, it could be a problem…

—We are not seeing it yet, nor are there more queries in that regard, but we cannot rule it out either. They may appear. For now, we are experiencing a sustained increase in active cases and we know that each variant has a different behavior that we are getting to know as the months go by. We will see what awaits us later.

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