24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Cataracts: Common, and Easy to TreatThere Are Many Good Reasons for Kids to Get the COVID VaccineBabies Produce Strong Immune Response to Ward Off COVID-19: StudyNovavax's COVID Vaccine Shines in Latest TrialAHA News: U.S. Appears to Lose Ground in Controlling High Blood PressureOdds for Death, Hospital Care Rise When Statins Are StoppedWeight-Loss Surgeries Used Least in U.S. States That Need Them MostObesity Could Raise Odds for 'Long-Haul' COVID SymptomsSmokers, Obese People Need Major Heart Interventions Earlier in LifeOld Age No Bar to Successful Heart Transplant, Study FindsCOVID Antibody Treatment Is Safe, Effective in Transplant PatientsThere Is No 'Healthy Obesity,' Study FindsExpiration Dates on Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine ExtendedWill People Really Need a Yearly COVID Booster Vaccine?America Is Losing the War Against DiabetesGene Editing Technique Corrects Sickle Cell Disease in MiceCOVID Vaccines Appear Safe for People With IBDNew Treatment Fights Rare Cases of Vaccine-Linked Blood ClotsWoman Dies From Dengue Fever Acquired in FloridaAstraZeneca COVID Vaccine Tied to Rare Cases of Low Blood PlateletsWhy a COVID Diagnosis Could Cost You Way More Money in 2021New Links Between Poor Sleep, Diabetes and DeathVaccinations More Urgent as Variant That Crippled India Shows Up in the U.S.Think You Can Skip That Annual Physical?  Think AgainReal-World Study Shows Power of Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines to Prevent COVIDDeath Rates Are Rising Across Rural AmericaWhat Diet Is Most Likely to Help Ease Crohn's Disease?'Breakthrough' COVID Infections May Be Common in Vaccinated Transplant PatientsYour Teen's Smartphone Could Be Key to Unhealthy WeightToo Much Caffeine Might Raise Your Odds for GlaucomaPeople of Color Have Twice the Risk of Dying After Brain Injury, Study FindsStudy Pinpoints Cancer Patients at Highest Risk From COVIDMany Existing Drugs Could Be Potent COVID Fighters: StudyAntibiotics Won't Help Fight Lung-Scarring Disease IDF: StudyNew Disabilities Plague Half of COVID Survivors After Hospital DischargeDeclining Vaccination Rates Threaten Biden's July 4 GoalYour Doctor Appointments Might Look Different Post-PandemicPrior COVID Infection May Shield You From Another for at Least 10 MonthsTeens: You Got Your COVID Vaccine, What Now?White House Lists Countries Getting First Batch of Extra COVID VaccinesStrokes Hitting COVID Patients Are More Severe: StudyAverage COVID Hospital Bill for U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy May Help Parkinson's Patients Long TermNIH Starts Trial Assessing 'Mix & Match' COVID Vaccine ApproachAllergy Treatment Crucial If Your Child Has AsthmaScientists Discover Rare Form of ALS That Can Strike KidsGlobal Warming to Blame for 1 in 3 Heat-Related Deaths WorldwideBlood Sugar Tests Using Sweat, Not Blood? They Could Be on the WayU.S. Set to Send Millions of COVID Vaccines to Countries in NeedAs Teen, He Made News Opposing Anti-Vax Mom. Now, He's Urging COVID Shots for Youth
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics


New Disabilities Plague Half of COVID Survivors After Hospital Discharge

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jun 7th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, June 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- People hospitalized for COVID-19 are often discharged in much worse shape than before their illness — underscoring the value of preventing severe cases with vaccination.

In a new study, researchers found that during the pandemic's early months, almost half of COVID-19 patients discharged from their health system had some degree of "functional decline."

That's a broad category including people who needed further therapy for physical impairments, like muscle weakness and low fitness levels; assistance with walking or other daily activities; home oxygen; or speech therapy or special diets after being on a ventilator.

The researchers said it all highlights a vital point: Many people who survive severe COVID-19 still face a long recovery.

"Surviving is not the same as thriving," said lead author Dr. Alecia Daunter. She is a rehabilitation specialist at the University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor.

A year-and-a-half into the pandemic, she noted, many people still believe that death is the only bad outcome of COVID-19.

Younger people, whose risk of death is low, can mistakenly think they have "nothing to worry about," Daunter said.

Many studies have documented long-term consequences of COVID-19, including the phenomenon dubbed "long COVID," which causes lingering problems like poor fitness levels, profound fatigue and "brain fog" — even after a mild infection.

And while COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, it can damage other organs, including the heart and brain.

Yet studies have not described the impact on hospitalized patients' functioning, according to Daunter's team.

So the researchers analyzed medical records from 288 COVID-19 patients discharged from their medical center between March and May 2020. Most patients — almost two-thirds — were able to go home, but 13% went to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing center for further care.

And close to half (45%) had some type of functional decline at the time of discharge, according to the report published online recently in PM&R: The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation.

One reason is that being sick in the hospital causes "deconditioning" — a decline in muscle strength and heart and breathing capacity that makes even daily routines difficult, Daunter said.

And people sick enough to land in the intensive care unit can leave with "post-ICU syndrome," with issues ranging from deconditioning to impaired memory and thinking to post-traumatic stress, she explained.

Daunter stressed that patients in the study were not a uniformly elderly group: They ranged in age from 20 to 95, and were 66 years old, on average.

"We're talking about a relatively young and healthy population," she said.

All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization, Daunter pointed out. It's important for younger people to be aware they can land in the hospital — and suffer the after-effects, she said.

Long-term effects are not, however, limited to hospital patients, said Dr. Ruwanthi Titano, a cardiologist who treats patients at the Center for Post-COVID Care at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

In fact, Titano said, most patients at the center had milder COVID-19 cases treated at home.

Researchers are working to understand the causes of long COVID, whether, for instance, it stems from runaway inflammation or an autoimmune reaction, she said.

But patients do show signs of what's called autonomic nervous system dysfunction, Titano explained: Their heart rate and blood pressure can "skyrocket" from something as basic as slow walking.

Initially, doctors told such patients to give their bodies time to recover, just like after a bad flu.

"And that wasn't unreasonable," Titano noted.

Over time, though, it's become apparent that some COVID-19 patients have lasting problems. And a growing number of medical centers are opening COVID clinics like Mount Sinai's.

It remains to be seen how patients will ultimately fair. At this point, Titano said, there has been some success with gradual exercise therapy, starting at a very mild intensity then slowly progressing.

While functional decline may not be life-threatening, it does take a toll on quality of life, Titano said, keeping people out of work and unable to fully "rejoin the world."

Titano echoed Daunter on the prevention message.

"Get vaccinated," Titano said. "We need to prevent infections and severe disease."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on post-COVID complications.

SOURCES: Alecia Daunter, MD, clinical assistant professor, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Ruwanthi Titano, MD, assistant professor, medicine/cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; PM&R: The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation, April 30, 2021, online