The main sequelae of covid-19 patients

The main sequelae of covid-19 patients

After several months living with covid-19, it seems that its symptoms are already well known, both in mild cases and in those severe cases that require hospitalization and even ICU admission. However, this pathology is also causing a series of sequelae in patients that are now being detected over time and in subsequent reviews.

As explains Dr. Gustavo de Luiz, head of the pneumology service at Vithas Xanit Internacional hospital, “In patients who have suffered the disease in a milder way, the physical sequelae are practically non-existent, however, possible sequelae have been detected in some cases that were more serious”.

Said sequelae are mainly respiratory in nature, due to the lung affectation caused by the coronavirus infection, among which there are alterations and a decrease in the diffusion and lung volumes, responsible for exertional dyspnea (lack of air when carrying out light activity ). Another respiratory sequelae that is being found in the review of these patients is postinfectious bronchial hyperactivity, which requires treatment to regain respiratory capacity prior to infection.

As Dr. Gustavo de Luiz adds, “It is very important for respiratory improvement to perform motor and respiratory physiotherapy during admission, and later, on an outpatient basis”.

On the other hand, apart from respiratory sequelae, it is also important to take into account the physical sequelae, which occur especially in those patients with long stays in the ICU, resulting from lack of mobility. Among these physical sequelae are muscle atrophy, joint stiffness, muscle pain or disturbances in circulation (edema, fluid accumulation, thrombi, etc.)

“This makes it necessary to carry out a rehabilitation process, where physiotherapy becomes particularly important, which can begin at the hospital level (even in the ICU) to help fight active infection, and must continue on an outpatient basis to treat the sequelae and improve the quality of life of patients after their cure, “explains Antonio Bellido, physiotherapist at Vithas Xanit Internacional hospital.

Physiotherapy for rehabilitation of patients with coronavirus

Due to these respiratory and physical sequelae, the patient who has undergone the hospitalization process usually needs rehabilitation, where physiotherapy is of great importance.

On the one hand, physiotherapy makes it possible to evaluate possible alterations in the ventilatory pattern and in the lung regions with decreased ventilation using specialized instruments.

“Physiotherapy specialists can help patients who have suffered from coronavirus, for example, to optimize ventilation, treating the diaphragm (main muscle of respiration) using manual and instrumental techniques (inspirometer), as well as performing exercises to stimulate and tone it”, explains Antonio Bellido. “It is also important to educate the patient with techniques and strategies to carry out during their daily activities that help them improve their ventilation and oxygenation when they feel short of breath and, furthermore, that they learn to increase the mobility and elasticity of all the elements of the rib cage (ribs, accessory muscles of respiration, thoracic vertebrae) to help fluid ventilation”, adds the specialist.

On the other hand, in addition to helping to improve and rehabilitate breathing, physiotherapy also helps to:

  • Expel residual secretions that can hinder the free passage of air through all regions of the lung, using lymphatic drainage techniques. In this way, future superinfections of this mucus that may generate new pneumonias are also prevented.
  • Assist in the evacuation of edema (fluid accumulation), which has been generated due to prolonged stay in bed, also through lymphatic drainage techniques.
  • Activate circulation through specific muscle exercises and manual techniques.
  • Reactivate and tone the atrophied muscles.
  • Explore the alterations of movement, posture and the origin of muscle and joint pain that occur due to bedtime, treating them using manual and instrumental techniques.

Vithas hospitals are safe hospitals

Vithas’ 20 hospitals are safe hospitals for patients and professionals thanks to the implementation of strict safety protocols against covid-19. Among the measures implemented, the establishment of two different circuits stands out: one for people with symptoms compatible with covid-19, and the other for other patients.

Additionally, we supply masks and hydroalcoholic gel to all people who come to the hospital for any reason. In addition, the Group is carrying out massive virus detection tests on all personnel, who are equipped with all the necessary self-protection measures.

A security that has always been reinforced thanks to the fact that all Vithas hospitals implement the strict protocols of the Joint Commission International, world reference body that accredits patient safety and healthcare excellence.

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