Bihar grapples with rising cases of post-Covid complications
Between September 25 and November 9, almost a hundred former Covid-19 patients returned to AIIMS-Patna complaining of shortness of breath, cough, weakness and fever.
A majority of patients who recovered from Covid-19 are returning to the AIIMS-Patna, a dedicated Covid-19 hospital, with complaints of respiratory distress, a senior doctor at the facility said on Thursday.
The AIIMS, which did an initial assessment of 92 patients since it initiated OPD service for post-Covid patients on September 25, found that 51% complained of shortness of breath, 38% of cough, 35.86% of weakness and 20% had fever till November 9.
Some among them even had multiple complaints, said Dr Deependra Kumar Rai, head of the department of pulmonary medicine, AIIMS.
Of those with respiratory distress, around 33% patients had post Covid interstitial lung disease (PC-ILD) and 13% had poor lung function, he said.
“As many as 13% of the PC-ILD cases have post Covid pulmonary fibrosis, which is problematic for patients as it is believed to cause permanent damage to the lungs, affecting its expansion. Another 19.56% of patients are non-fibrotic, and their lung function is expected to recover over a period of time,” said Dr Rai.
The AIIMS has advised PC-ILD patients to be on regular follow-up for the next six months to check for pulmonary fibrosis.
“We will do their spirometry test to check the functioning of the lungs every two months and also run a CT scan of the chest to check for fibrosis, if it resolves with time,” he added.
Dr Rai advocated breathing exercises and yoga for patients who had recovered from Covid-19.
At least two-third of the patients, coming to the OPD of the pulmonary department at AIIMS-Patna, belonged to the 30-60 years age group, while 21% were less than 30 years old and 12% over 60 years of age.
The average daily patient footfall had risen in the past fortnight. An average 12 to 13 patients were reporting every day to the OPD for consultation as compared to 2-4 initially, when the service was introduced, said Dr Rai.
The Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), which was the other dedicated Covid-19 hospital in Patna, has seen lesser footfalls of post-Covid patients in its OPD.
“We are in the process of collating post-Covid patient data. However, a negligible percentage has returned to our OPD clinic with post-Covid complications out of the nearly 2,000 Covid patients who survived after treatment at our hospital. This is a pointer to the fact that our patient recovery is good. Only about 5% to 6% severe pneumatic patients have come to us with complaints of shortness of breath after eight weeks of recovery from Covid,” said Dr Ajay Kumar Sinha, nodal officer for Covid-19 at NMCH.
Out of its Covid-19 tally of 2,29,474, Bihar on Thursday reported 5,772 active cases while the death toll was at