Coronavirus survivors face chronic health conditions

For a world grappling with the new coronavirus, it’s becoming increasingly clear that even when the pandemic is over, it won't really be over.
Now doctors are beginning to worry that for patients who have survived COVID-19, the same may be true.
For the sickest patients, infection with the new coronavirus is proving to be a full-body assault, causing damage well beyond the lungs. And even after patients who become severely ill have recovered and cleared the virus, physicians have begun seeing evidence of the infection's lingering effects.
In a study posted this week, scientists in China examined the blood test results of 34 COVID-19 patients over the course of their hospitalization. In those who survived mild and severe disease alike, the researchers found that many of the biological measures had “failed to return to normal.”
Chief among the worrisome test results were readings that suggested these apparently recovered patients continued to have impaired liver function. That was the case even after two tests for the live virus had come back negative and the patients were cleared to be discharged.
At the same time, as cardiologists are contending with the immediate effects of COVID-19 on the heart, they're asking how much of the damage could be long-lasting. In an early study of COVID-19 patients in China, heart failure was seen in nearly 12% of those who survived, including in some who had shown no signs of respiratory distress.
When lungs do a poor job of delivering oxygen to the body, the heart can come under severe stress and may emerge weaker. That's concerning enough in an illness that typically causes breathing problems. But when even those without respiratory distress sustain injury to the heart, doctors have to wonder whether they have underestimated COVID-19's ability to wreak lasting havoc.
“COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disorder,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholtz, a cardiologist at Yale University. “It can affect the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the brain, the endocrine system and the blood system.”
. LA Times

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