Nagpur: Generally, Covid-19 patients who require hospitalization, oxygen, NIV, HFNO or mechanical ventilation support and still survive from the infection are given two weeks’ treatment after discharge and hardly any advise to undergo tests to assess the functioning of their lungs.
Pulmonologists in Maharashtra are increasingly seeing these patients who remain breathless and are even dependent on oxygen and are later dying due to complications or having Covid-induced lung fibrosis. To address these issues, a proper follow up of Covid patients even after recovery is needed, say doctors.
“As per the Indian guidelines, the spirometry, DLCO and 6-minute walk test should be performed to detect post-Covid lung fibrosis in recovered patients. Those who require hospitalization must undergo these tests. But not many are doing that,” said senior pulmonologist and national secretary of Indian Chest Society (ICS) Dr Rajesh Swarnakar.
The DLCO measures the ability of the lungs to transfer gas from inhaled air to the red blood cells in pulmonary capillaries.
Both government hospitals in Nagpur – GMCH and IGGMCH – have facilities of these tests installed at the post-Covid treatment centres. But, officials there are still to document the data of how many patients who were discharged from hospitals came back and got themselves tested.
A senior official stated that patients are reluctant to visit hospitals after they get discharged. Only those who suffer from post-Covid complications are seen at centres.
Senior pulmonologist of Maharashtra Dr Zarir Udwadia, in the article published in Lung India on March 6, has stressed on the importance of careful follow‑up of post‑Covid survivors with serial lung function and imaging. “We are busy treating the disease and forgetting to advise regular follow-up to survivors who got admitted with severe Covid pneumonia, making ground for the Tsunami (post Covid lung fiberosis ) that will follow the earthquake (Covid pandemic ),” said Dr Udwadia.