ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Newly-opened clinics at University of Michigan hospitals are now accepting patients who were infected with the coronavirus and now suffer from long-term symptoms brought on by the disease.
The enigma of these long-term symptoms has confused researchers that are working to better understand the health outcomes of COVID-19.
"There is an urgent need to better understand the long-term complications of COVID-19 and provide specialized care for high-risk groups of patients," said Dr. Rodica Pop-Busui, an endocrinologist at Michigan Medicine.
The university has established two clinics, one at its Domino Farms location and one at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital that will offer post-discharge care to those that have already made it through the acute phase of infection and now suffer from long-form complications.
Persistent COVID symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, and rapid pulse rates during minimal exertion are just some of the reported conditions that have been noted in those that haven't been able to shake the illness. Why so many people have unexplained symptoms months after getting infected isn't yet well-understood.
The clinic openings are part of a two-pronged investigation into the symptoms that will be coordinated by UofM doctors. One will focus on adults and the other on children.
Adult clinic at Domino's Farms
Formally titled the Multidisciplinary Post COVID-19 Clinic, the site will provide a mixture of in-person and virtual care to patients.
"Data suggests that 10-20% of those previously infected and over the acute phase of the infection have lingering symptoms that could be organ-based damage or a syndrome called post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC)," says John M. Carethers, chair of the department of Internal Medicine in a statement.
The clinic will prioritize patients who were infected with the coronavirus and have diabetes or obesity due to their high-risk status.
To be eligible, patients must be at least 18, tested positive for COVID-19, be referred by a primary care physician, and have comorbidities associated with long-haul symptoms. Those include:
- Shortness of breath
- Joints and muscle pain
- Chest pain
- Memory problems
Pediatric Clinic at Mott
The Post-COVID Syndrome Clinic based at Mott children's hospital will focus on the long-term effects of coronavirus on kids and teens that were infected with COVID-19 or have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
"We’ve seen many children who have breathing issues and other lingering symptoms long after an initial infection," said Carey Lumeng, a Mott pediatric pulmonologist in a statement. "Most of these initial infections were mild and didn’t require hospitalization or even outpatient care."
In order to be eligible, patients will need to be under the age of 21 with a confirmed case of COVID-19, be referred by a primary care providers, have a continuation of symptoms persisting for more than two months, and have no explanations for the worsening symptoms.
Similar to the adult clinic, the pediatric clinic will offer virtual and in-person visits with the option to participate in research studies on the long-term effects of COVID-19 in children.