Survivors of COVID-19 may be battling effects from the virus for quite a while, doctors have discovered. According to TheNew York Post, many patients have reported that although they have recovered from the full force of COVID-19, they are still experiencing breathing troubles, among other problems. Doctors warn that survivors may never fully recover from the disease.
“One of the biggest questions… is [whether] these patients will recover fully, or if there will be chronic lung damage from this virus,” Northwell Health pulmonologist Dr. Mina Rafik Makaryus said.
A study conducted on 34 COVID-19 patients found that the disease caused “physiological changes” and affected metabolism. Twelve percent of patients studied in China were found to have heart damage following the virus.
Unfortunately, there is not enough data to continue further studies, since the earliest COVID-19 diagnoses are only three months old.
Makaryus said he worries “especially” for patients who were put on life support and will now deal with the lasting effects of the coronavirus.
Moulin Rouge: The Musical! star Danny Burstein told The Post that he has experienced some significant changes in his breathing since recovering from the virus.
“Sometimes I’m having conversations and I can’t get enough air, that’s the toughest part,” Burstein, 55, said. “It’s frustrating. It’s been a very slow recovery. For the most part, the symptoms are gone, but what remains is the damage that was done to my lungs.”
Another patient, 30-year-old Shaun Khubchandani, told the publication that he felt like his “lungs were on fire,” even after recovery.
View this post on Instagram
“Every day I hear little stories of patients getting better; of people getting off ventilators; of people being able to reunite with their families after weeks of not seeing them,” said Lenox Hill Hospital RN, Emily Fawcett. "The Hope Huddle gives us the positivity to keep going, and keep serving, and keep doing what we do best here.” ❤️ . Thanks to Emily, Hope Huddles are a new addition to the regular shift huddle in the emergency department, where a unit nurse comes down to share stories of patients recovering. — Link in bio ???? . . . #northwell #northwellhealth #northwelllife #healthcare #northwellheroes #northwellstrong #coronavirus #fightCOVID19 #covid_19 #health #love #hope #heroes #warriors #warrior #strong #strength #inspired #inspiration #care #blessed #nurses #doctors #frontlines #together #togetherstronger
“I couldn’t take a deep breath. That’s when I started getting worried,” he added.
Khubchandani warned that he felt symptoms of COVID-19 for three weeks straight, but there were a few instances where he recovered for a day or two and then developed another fever. When the symptoms seemed to finally subside, he began having chest pains.
“I had concerns that maybe I’ve damaged my lungs or that I’ll develop some long-term issues,” he said, noting that he got a chest X-ray, which came out looking clear.
Khubchandani and Burstein both revealed that they used a spirometer, an apparatus that measures the air inspiring and expiring in the lungs, to help with their breathing. In addition, Burstein said he was instructed by his doctor to blow up a balloon every hour, which strengthens his lungs.
Makaryus said that patients have reported improved breathing over time by performing these exercises, but several patients still need oxygen “weeks” after diagnosis.