ICU expert: Outpatient clinics urgently needed for long-term Covid sufferers
Special outpatient clinics should be set up for people suffering from the long-term effects of a coronavirus infection, said Diederik Gommers. The Erasmus University Medical Center's intensive care leader, also an Outbreak Management Team member, spoke about the situation during his BNR podcast.
One in ten Covid-19 patients experience health issues up to 12 weeks after the disease, he said. He believes that there could be a very high demand for outpatient clinics, even once the pandemic is brought under control. For that reason, Gommers said that he expects pulmonologists and general practitioners to soon join the call for the expanded care.
“Politicians must take into account that there are large groups of people who have long-term health effects after Covid. Not only the people who have been in intensive care but also the young people who only developed mild symptoms. The biggest complaint of these patients is fatigue, but palpitations and muscle pain can also occur, Gommers said.
Public health agency RIVM will launch a study at the end of the month into “Long Covid,” the name of the syndrome when people have symptoms of Covid-19 for an extended period of time. An estimated 40 thousand suffer from they syndrome. The RIVM study will follow a thousand people in the Netherlands for up a year following their Covid-19 diagnosis.
Symptoms of long covid include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain, headaches, and feelings of depression, fogginess or of being overwhelmed. An extended loss of the senses of taste and smell have also been reported. They have mainly been reported by people between the ages of 25 and 65, the RIVM said.
“Some of these complaints persist for a long period, but their severity may decrease over time”, the RIVM wrote.