Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can develop post-COVID conditions (PCC) or protracted COVID as a result of their infection. Post-COVID conditions might include a variety of long-term health issues that can last weeks, months, or even years.
Estimates of the proportion of people who contract COVID-19 and develop post-COVID symptoms vary
- At one month or longer following infection, 13.3%
- Based on self-reporting, 2.5 percent at three months or longer.
- At 6 months, more than 30% of patients who were hospitalized
Let’s talk about the 3 organ systems affected when a person develops long COVID and how Remote Patient Monitoring can help manage symptoms.
The Respiratory System
A severe case of COVID-19 can cause scarring and other long-term issues in the lungs, but even minor infections can cause persistent shortness of breath, with people easily becoming breathless after even light activity. COVID-19 lung healing is feasible, but it takes time. According to experts, lung function can take months to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. Exercises in breathing and respiratory treatment can help.
The pulse oximeter is a non-invasive clip that is applied to the patient’s finger to monitor light wavelengths that define blood oxygen level—how much oxygen is circulating in the red blood cells. The pulse oximeter also records the patient’s pulse. Remote patient monitoring pulse oximeters are used to screen and monitor individuals with chronic illnesses as well as for COVID-19 screening and monitoring. Remote patient monitoring pulse oximeters are used by healthcare professionals to track changes in a patient’s lung function. Low blood oxygen levels, for example, are frequently a critical predictor of a poor prognosis in COVID-19 patients.
The Cardiovascular System
SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause heart issues, including inflammation of the heart muscle, in certain people. In fact, one study found that 60% of persons who recovered from COVID-19 had indications of continuing heart inflammation, which could cause shortness of breath, palpitations, and a fast heartbeat. Even people who had a minor case of COVID-19 and had no previous medical problems can develop signs of cardiovascular inflammation.
Remote patient monitoring has been used to extract heart rate information from patients who need to be monitored continuously. The remote patient monitoring device was chosen for its accuracy, dependability, cost, availability, and comfort. These remote patient monitoring devices may be used for extended periods of time thanks to Bluetooth low energy technology, which increases the system’s longevity and reduces the chance of false alerts.
The second measuring parameter of our monitoring system involving the cardiovascular system is blood pressure. By sensing changes in arterial motion, remote patient monitoring blood pressure cuffs compute a patient’s heart rate and blood flow. The remote patient monitoring blood pressure cuff is similar to the ones we’ve all used in the doctor’s office, with the exception that it delivers data to the practitioner in real time for evaluation. Day-to-day blood pressure monitoring is advantageous since it provides insight into the heart’s daily condition rather than a single point in time data.
The Olfactory System
Because the coronavirus can impact cells in the nose, having COVID-19 might cause altered or lost perceptions of smell and taste. People who have COVID-19 may lose their sense of smell or taste completely before or after becoming ill.
The condition goes away in a matter of weeks for around a quarter of COVID-19 patients who have one or both of these symptoms. However, for the most part, these symptoms continue. Though not life-threatening, persistent distortion of these senses can be debilitating, resulting in a loss of appetite, anxiety, and despair. According to one study, these people have a 60% to 80% chance of improving their sense of smell within a year.
Remote patient monitoring scales allow the patient to log weight changes over time, and the practitioner to monitor those changes to ensure symptoms are not worsening, and allow early intervention. For long COVID patients in particular, where weight changes are common due to loss of taste, monitoring of weight can result in self-management, which encourages patients to accept responsibility to promote their own health.
Some adults and children develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome after receiving COVID-19. Some organs and tissues become significantly inflamed in this situation, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, and olfactory systems. Fortunately, the technology in healthcare has been drastically improving and patients with long COVID can use Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring program to manage their health at the comfort of their own homes.
To know how you can implement RPM to your clinic, contact DrKumo.
- CDC. (2022, May 5). Post-COVID Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html