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New Study Shows Measurable Organ Impairment in Long COVID Patients
- April 26, 2021
- Long COVID, COVID-19, Multiorgan Impairment
- Jennifer Weismann, Chloe Hutton
BMJ Open publishes research demonstrating physiological basis for condition
OXFORD, ENGLAND, April 26th, 2021 — New research published in BMJ Open outlines findings from a study on multiorgan impairment in individuals with persistent symptoms following recovery from COVID-19 infection— a condition referred to as long COVID. The study included characterization of organ function using global medical technology company Perspectum’s non-invasive imaging technology.
Long COVID, also referred to as post-COVID-19 syndrome, is yet to be fully understood, but has wide-ranging and fluctuating symptoms, which can include breathlessness, chronic fatigue, “brain fog”, anxiety and stress. The research examined associations between hospitalization, severity of COVID-19 symptoms and multiorgan impairment (in heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen), and demonstrated a physiological basis for long COVID. Although the study population were considered to be at low risk of COVID-19 mortality but with ongoing symptoms, seventy percent showed impairment in one or more organs up to four months after initial COVID-19 symptoms.
“Early in the pandemic, research and clinical practice focused on pulmonary effects of COVID-19, but as we scanned patients using Perspectum’s quantitative MRI, we found evidence of multiorgan impairment,” says Dr Amitava Banerjee, Associate Professor in Clinical Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University College London. “Because our research demonstrated physiological effects in a majority of patients, we believe major organ systems must be assessed in all patients recovering from COVID-19 — to help define long COVID, determine its aftereffects and develop multidisciplinary care pathways.”
“There are tremendous implications for healthcare and public health, which have assumed low risk in young people with no comorbidities,” adds Dr Banerjee. “While our research examined patients hospitalized with COVID-19, future research should address longer-term follow-up of organ function beyond symptoms and blood investigations, even in lower risk individuals who were not hospitalized with the disease; and prioritization for imaging, investigation and referral.”
Perspectum, a global medical imaging technology and AI company with offices in the U.K., the U.S. and Singapore, delivers leading digital technologies that help clinicians provide better care for patients with liver disease, diabetes and cancer. With a strong focus on precision medicine using advanced imaging and genetics, our vision is to empower patients and clinicians through quantitative assessments of health enabling early detection, diagnosis, and targeted treatment. With a diverse team of physicians, biomedical scientists, engineers and technologists, Perspectum offers a way to manage complex health problems at scale. For more information, visit perspectum.com.
About Long Covid
Long Covid affects 10-30% of people who have symptomatic infection with Sars-CoV-2 and is defined as symptomatic disease lasting longer than 12 weeks. Patients typically have extreme fatigue, chest pain, breathlessness, muscle aches and brain fog, but there are many reported symptoms. Many of these patients have organ damage or impairment, and ways of managing this are currently being researched. Patients with Long Covid are often unable to work for long periods of time, posing a significant burden to the economy and public services.
About CoverScan MD
CoverScan MD is an advanced imaging and software suite that provides a comprehensive, one-stop-shop assessment to detect damage in the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, and spleen. This single, quick MRI exam eliminates the need for multiple individual or invasive tests. The use of CoverScan MD has been approved by the U.K.’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Figure 1. Multiorgan impairment in low-risk individuals with post-COVID-19 syndrome by gender and hospitalisation (from Dennis et al. (2021). BMJ Open, 11(3), e048391). Of the individuals, 71% were females (female icons) and 19% had been hospitalised with COVID-19 (red icons). 70% had impairment in at least one organ and 29% had multiorgan impairment, with overlap across multiple organs. Impairment in the liver, heart or lungs was associated with further organ impairment in 63%, 62% and 48% of individuals, respectively.
Nellie Wild, VP Corporate Affairs