To allow everyone to better understand the consequences of a Covid-19 infection, the French Academy of Medicine has classified the physical sequelae into two groups. “The first brings together those of organic damage in the acute phase, not or only slightly reversible. The second includes mislabeled complex disorders occurring a few weeks after recovery, the origin and outcome of which remain unknown, ”their opinion specifies.
During the acute phase, the lungs are of course affected first. “The lung is the organ most frequently affected in the acute phase of the disease and epidemics due to other coronaviruses such as Sars-CoV and Mers-CoV have shown that pulmonary fibrosis can persist after infection. initial “. This fibrosis causes a decline in respiratory function, an extension of lung damage and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. Respiratory failure, which results in fatigue and shortness of breath, among other things, can last for months.
Covid-19 also affects the heart. The risks are inflammatory myocarditis (inflammation of the muscle tissue of the heart), myocardial infarction, heart failure, tachycardias (increased heart rate). Certain cardiac disorders “persist after leaving the acute phase and require prolonged monitoring and appropriate treatment”.
In the kidneys, the Academy has frequently identified proteinuria (presence of protein in the urine) and renal failure in Covid patients. “As the progression to chronic renal failure is always silent, patients with this condition must be monitored over a long period”.
Brain damage has also been identified. “This brain damage can result from three factors: a lack of oxygenation, cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) with an artery which clogs because Covid-19 causes bleeding disorders. Finally, it can be a multiplication of the virus itself in the neurons often by a path which comes from the olfactory nerve, the virus goes up and causes local lesions or in other places ”.
If they are intubated, patients also suffer from muscle wasting linked to their immobilization.
After this acute phase, the virus continues to make them suffer. “It has been observed that patients apparently recovered from the acute episode required prolonged convalescence or complained of new symptoms after a period of remission. The initial infection was often short and resolved spontaneously. The negativity of the tests for the virus helps rule out reinfection. The disorders complained of by these subjects are general malaise, muscle pain, arthralgia, fatigue at the slightest physical or intellectual effort, loss of memory and, sometimes, attacks of tachycardia. These disorders are most often episodic, but sometimes have a prolonged character. Treatment is difficult, apart from the prescription of paracetamol, psychological support and the correction of possible malnutrition by a dietitian ”, underlines the Academy of Medicine. On average, 15% of patients complain of persistent symptoms.
Finally, “psychological sequelae are to be feared in patients, caregivers and victims of confinement”, concludes the report.