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Even a mild course of Covid can affect the organs


Heart, kidneys, lungs: even a mild course of Covid can apparently impair organ functions in the medium term. Hamburg researchers recommend a clarification six to nine months after the infection.

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Photo: Narcisa Palici / 500px / Getty Images

A good 6.5 million people in Germany are officially counted as having recovered from Covid-19. Most of them had a mild to moderate course of the disease, i.e. no severe pneumonia. Nevertheless, the infection can apparently leave medium-term traces on organs, as a study carried out in Hamburg and published in the European Heart Journal shows (not yet available online). It has long been known that Sars-CoV-2 not only affects the respiratory tract, but can also attack many organs.

The researchers at Eppendorf University Medical Center led by Raphael Twerenbold and Stefan Blankenberg therefore examined the heart, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys and brain of 443 people with proven Sars-CoV-2 infection around ten months later using extensive tests and compared the values ​​with those of 1328 people who had not contracted the virus.

The main results:

  • In comparison, the

    lung volume

    of those who recovered was reduced by about three percent and their breathing resistance was slightly increased.

  • The

    pumping power of the heart

    was one to two percent lower in those who had recovered.

    At the same time, a blood value was increased, which shows that the heart is stressed.

  • In those who had recovered, there were two to three times more likely signs of a previous

    leg vein thrombosis

    , i.e. a blood clot.

  • The

    kidney function

    of those who recovered was about two percent lower than that of the participants in the control group.

  • There was no difference in the tests for

    brain function

    , and the


    of life was not impaired in those who had recovered.

"We see minor damage, I would speak of traces," says Raphael Twerenbold from the UKE's Heart and Vascular Center.

“It may be that those affected feel good and don't notice anything.

We know, however, that a decrease in the heart's pumping power by one percent in the long term can be associated with a slightly poorer prognosis and an increased risk of cardiac insufficiency if it does not return to normal in the further course. "

»Absolutely no need to panic«

Even a slight deterioration in kidney function can lead to problems in the long term.

The authors of the study therefore advocate a systematic follow-up check of the heart and kidneys after a Covid disease.

In the case of the lungs, they only recommend a diagnosis if symptoms are present.

»There is absolutely no need to panic or general uncertainty.

Based on the new findings, we rather recommend a level-headed but systematic approach, ideally six to nine months after a Sars-CoV-2 infection, for example as part of the next annual check-up, "says Twerenbold.

"If there are specific complaints such as persistent shortness of breath, it is of course advisable to clarify earlier, but if the symptoms are free, we believe that the functions of the organ systems should be largely in balance again six to nine months after an infection."

The aim is not to identify people who have only made minimal changes, but rather those whose heart pumping power has decreased by at least ten percent in order to then start targeted therapy.

The study examined 443 people between the ages of 45 and 74 who were infected with Sars-CoV-2 in 2020, which had to be proven by a positive PCR test. Almost 60 percent had a mild course. Only 31 of them had to be treated in the hospital, but not in the intensive care unit. The control group consisted of 1328 people who took part in the Hamburg City Health Study, a large long-term study in the Hanseatic city. They were selected so that they matched the 443 as well as possible, including with regard to age, gender, socio-economic status and previous illnesses. Their examinations were carried out shortly before the corona pandemic, so that these participants certainly had not yet gone through Covid-19 at the time the data was collected.

Due to the age range set, the study says nothing about the consequences of a mild or moderate course of Covid in children, adolescents and younger adults.

The study also cannot provide information about the new coronavirus variants or the benefits of the vaccines, since the participants were sick in 2020, i.e. before the start of the vaccination campaign and the spread of alpha, delta and omicron.

And since the participants had mild and moderate Covid courses, it is not possible to deduce from the data how people are after a severe or critical Covid course.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-01-05

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