PEOPLE MaryKatherine Theoktisto Lakeway infectious disease doctor
2 0 2 1 H E A L T H C A R E E D I T I O N
“THE TRUE IMPLICATIONS FROM COVID19MAYTAKEUSYEARS TOFULLYUNDERSTAND. AS TIMEPASSES,WE CONTINUE TOLEARNMOREABOUTTHE LONGTERMHEALTH ISSUES.”
BY AMY RAE DADAMO
Dr. Mary Katherine Theoktisto, an American Board of Internal Medicine- certied infectious disease doctor, answered questions for Community Impact Newspaper regarding the potential long-term impacts of contracting the COVID-19 virus, though the true implications of the virus could take years to fully understand. Theoktisto is a specialist at Baylor Scott & White Health’s Speciality Clinic in Lakeway. She received her doctorate from St. Georges University and completed her infectious disease fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. HOW LONG UNTIL DOCTORS
DR. MARY KATHERINE THEOKTISTO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DOCTOR AT BAYLOR SCOTT &WHITE HEALTH
POSTCOVID19 CONDITIONS The true implications of contracting the COVID-19 virus may take doctors and researchers years to fully understand, according to Dr. Mary Katherine Theoktisto, an infectious disease expert at Baylor Scott & White Health. Although most patients improve within weeks, some experience long-term symptoms.
WHEN SHOULD PEOPLE SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF THEY ARE EXPERIENCING LASTING SYMPTOMS POSTRECOVERY? CARE PHYSICIANS KNOW THEY HAVE PREVIOUSLY CONTRACTED THE VIRUS EVEN IF THEY HADMILD OR NON EXISTENT SYMPTOMS? Most treatment for long COVID is symptom management. If symptoms become severe, patients should seek further care to assist with symptoms. Patients should notify their primary care providers to let them know when they developed COVID-19. WHAT CANWE LEARN SHOULD INDIVIDUALS LET THEIR PRIMARY FROM THE SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME SARS EPIDEMIC THAT OCCURRED IN 2002 REGARDING POTENTIAL LONG TERMHEALTH EFFECTS? There have been some studies looking at long-term eects of SARSCOV-1 (2002 epidemic). In these studies, a small percentage of patients had long-term eects, including depression or anxiety, cough, shortness of breath, chronic lung or kidney disease. Most patients fully recovered. HAVE THERE BEEN STUDIES REGARDING WHAT PERCENTAGE OF HOSPITALIZED COVID19 PATIENTS ARE READMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL OR SEEK MEDICAL CARE AFTER RECOVERING FROM THE VIRUS? According to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],
UNDERSTAND THE TRUE LONG TERMHEALTH IMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATEDWITH COVID19? The true implications from COVID-19 may take us years to fully understand. As time passes, we continue to learn more about the long-term health issues. THUS FAR, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMONLY REPORTED SYMPTOMS OR HEALTH CHANGES IN PATIENTS WHO HAVE RECOVERED FROM THE VIRUS? Most people recover from the virus within weeks of illness. However, some people experience post-COVID conditions, some of which can be ongoing for over four weeks. Typical symptoms of long COVID include: tiredness or fatigue, diculty concentrating (‘brain fog’), headaches, loss of smell or taste, dizziness, fast heartbeat or palpitations, chest pain, diculty breathing or shortness of breath, cough, joint or muscle pain, depression or anxiety, fevers, worsening of symptoms after physical activity. THOUGH COVID19 IS A RESPIRATORY ILLNESS, ARE RESEARCHERS SEEING HEALTH EFFECTS BEYOND THOSE INVOLVING THE LUNGS AND RESPIRATORY SYSTEM? There are multi-organ eects seen from COVID-19. COVID-19 can aect the cardiovascular system [heart, blood vessels]; kidneys; lung; skin; brain functions. There have been reports of autoimmune conditions and multisystem inammatory syndromes as well.
75% OF HOSPITALIZED
9% OF COVID19 PATIENTS
Long-term symptoms can include: • Fatigue • Loss of smell or taste • Headache • “Brain fog” • Chest pain • Depression or anxiety
are readmitted to the hospital within two months of discharge .
report at least one lingering symptom six months after recovery .
SOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
about 9% of patients were readmitted to the same hospital within 2 months of discharge after initial COVID-19 hospitalization. Multiple readmissions occur less frequently. Some risk factors for readmission include: age >65, presence of chronic condition, hospitalization within 3 months preceding COVID-19 hospitalization, discharge to nursing facility. Studies are ongoing, and this information may change as [the] number of hospitalizations increase. IF AN INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCEDMILD COVID19 SYMPTOMS THAT DID NOT REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATION, IS IT POSSIBLE THEY COULD STILL SEE LONGTERMHEALTH IMPLICATIONS FROM THE VIRUS? Anyone who has had COVID- 19, even mild symptoms, could potentially develop long-term COVID syndromes. According to the CDC, about 3/4 of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had at least one ongoing symptom six months after
COVID-19, Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation created a recovery and reconditioning program to help patients who are recuperating from COVID-19. The program is for those who are recovering after they were hospitalized or suered a mild case and have lingering symptoms and eects. Patients in the program can work through a variety of lasting symptoms such as general fatigue, weakness or cognitive impairments. RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE RECOVERED FROM COVID19? Currently there is no standard recommendation regarding ongoing testing once you have recovered from the acute viral illness. However, if you continue to have shortness of breath, pulmonary issues, racing heart or palpitations, further workup may be indicated. You should consult your doctor if you experience ongoing symptoms. Responses were edited for grammar and clarity. IS THERE ANY MEDICAL TESTING OR IMAGING
recovery from acute illness. For long-term impacts from
LAKE TRAVIS WESTLAKE EDITION • JUNE 2021
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