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Long COVID: Distinction between Organ Damage and Deconditioning

Department for Internal Medicine II, University of Ulm, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jean-Sébastien Hulot
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(17), 3782;
Received: 24 July 2021 / Revised: 23 August 2021 / Accepted: 24 August 2021 / Published: 24 August 2021
(1) Background: Long COVID syndrome refers to long-term sequelae of the novel viral disease, which occur even in patients with initially mild disease courses. However, there is still little evidence of the actual organic consequences and their frequency, and there is no standardized workup to diagnose long COVID syndrome yet. In this study, we aim to determine the efficiency of a stepwise diagnostic approach for reconvalescent COVID-19 patients with cardiopulmonary symptoms. (2) Methods: The diagnostic workup for long COVID syndrome included three steps. In the first step, the focus was on broad applicability (e.g., blood tests and body plethysmography). In the second step, cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) and cardiac MRI (CMR) were used. The third step was tailored to the individual needs of each patient. The observation period lasted from 22 February to 14 May 2021. (3) Results: We examined 231 patients in our long COVID unit (mean [SD] age, 47.8 [14.9], 132 [57.1%] women). Acute illness occurred a mean (SD) of 121 (77) days previously. Suspicious findings in the first visit were seen in 80 (34.6%) patients, prompting further diagnostics. Thirty-six patients were further examined with CPET and CMR. Of those, 16 (44.4%) had pathological findings. The rest had functional complaints without organ damage (“functional long COVID”). Cardiopulmonary sequelae were found in asymptomatic as well as severe courses of the initial COVID-19 disease. (4) Conclusions: A structured diagnostic pathway for the diagnosis of long COVID syndrome is practicable and rational in terms of resource allocation. With this approach, manifest organ damage can be accurately and comprehensively diagnosed and distinguished from functional complaints. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; long COVID; Post-COVID; cardiac sequelae; pulmonary sequelae COVID-19; long COVID; Post-COVID; cardiac sequelae; pulmonary sequelae
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kersten, J.; Baumhardt, M.; Hartveg, P.; Hoyo, L.; Hüll, E.; Imhof, A.; Kropf-Sanchen, C.; Nita, N.; Mörike, J.; Rattka, M.; Andreß, S.; Scharnbeck, D.; Schmidtke-Schrezenmeier, G.; Tadic, M.; Wolf, A.; Rottbauer, W.; Buckert, D. Long COVID: Distinction between Organ Damage and Deconditioning. J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10, 3782.

AMA Style

Kersten J, Baumhardt M, Hartveg P, Hoyo L, Hüll E, Imhof A, Kropf-Sanchen C, Nita N, Mörike J, Rattka M, Andreß S, Scharnbeck D, Schmidtke-Schrezenmeier G, Tadic M, Wolf A, Rottbauer W, Buckert D. Long COVID: Distinction between Organ Damage and Deconditioning. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2021; 10(17):3782.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kersten, Johannes, Michael Baumhardt, Paul Hartveg, Luis Hoyo, Elina Hüll, Armin Imhof, Cornelia Kropf-Sanchen, Nicoleta Nita, Johannes Mörike, Manuel Rattka, Stefanie Andreß, Dominik Scharnbeck, Gerlinde Schmidtke-Schrezenmeier, Marijana Tadic, Alexander Wolf, Wolfgang Rottbauer, and Dominik Buckert. 2021. "Long COVID: Distinction between Organ Damage and Deconditioning" Journal of Clinical Medicine 10, no. 17: 3782.

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