Published on June 12, 2021

AHMEDABAD: Alpesh Jani (name changed), 54, was admitted to a city-based private hospital in December 2020. “A patient of diabetes and hypertension, Jani’s condition deteriorated over four weeks of hospitalization. He was given steroids, remdesivir, and even plasma therapy but nothing worked much as his condition did not deteriorate through medicines but did not improve either,” said his relative.

“Due to his breathlessness, he was again admitted to Civil Hospital where he spent another two months, getting below 80% oxygen saturation occasionally. He was discharged in March, but even at that time, he needed 5 litres of oxygen per minute. Even today, he attends the physiotherapy and treatment to improve his lung health,” said the relative.

Dr Kartikeya Parmar, in-charge of 1,200-bed Covid Hospital at Civil Hospital, said that about 20-25% of the patients requiring critical care have prolonged Covid-related illness. “Factors such as lung involvement, age and comorbidities determine the severity of the infection. Those with severe manifestation can take months to regain their pre-Covid lung capacity,” he said.

City-based critical care specialists point at ‘long Covid’ phenomenon where the patients of Covid-19 need hospitalization not only for Covid-induced clotting or inflammation, but its impact across organs ranging from brain to kidneys. The addition of bacterial and fungal infections such as mucormycosis has made the post-Covid symptoms more complex for patients.

Dr Manoj Singh, a city-based pulmonologist, said that the post-Covid care units are now working with several patients as the fresh cases have recorded dip. “Lung improvement can be achieved through medications and exercises,” he said.

Experts said that several of the city hospitals have their non-Covid ICUs full with recovered Covid patients. “The viral infection is tricky as it can manifest itself in several forms over a period of time. While some report stroke due to clotting, some report fibrosis in lungs due to severe infection. Heart attack and kidney failures are also reported,” said a city-based intensivist.

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