Long-term delirium after COVID-19 passage more common than we thought

The so-called “long tail” of Covid-19 has been talked about practically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but until recently we didn’t realize how long, widespread and difficult to combat it would be.

Long-term delirium after COVID-19 passage more common than we thought

According to a recent study, patients who are hospitalized and require intensive care due to contracting Covid-19 quite commonly experience persistent delirium. Delirium, also known as delirium, is understood here as a whole set of disturbances of consciousness accompanied by problems with logical thinking, mental confusion, so-called brain fog, sleep disturbances and even illusions, visual, auditory, tactile and other hallucinations, as well as anxiety and psychomotor agitation. It’s not something you don’t see in hospital rooms, but it usually applies to cases of severe infections that run with high fever and disappears once the elevated temperature stops.

Meanwhile, in many patients struggling with Covid-19, it appears during illness and refuses to disappear for a very long time. As we learn today, the condition occurs in up to 80% of patients who require hospitalization in intensive care units, most likely due to either hypoxic brain damage or widespread inflammation in the body. In the new study, researchers looked at patients from one particular hospital in Michigan and found that delirium is a very common symptom of Covid-19, which in addition significantly slows down the healing process. From the medical data, we learn that of the 148 patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit, more than 70% experienced long-term mental impairment – in most cases the delirium lasted a few days, but as many as one-third of the patients left the hospital still experiencing it, with half of this group in a state that required ongoing skilled care at home!

Their impaired cognitive abilities made it difficult or impossible for them to take care of their health, which they even indicated in follow-up interviews 1 month and 2 months after leaving the hospital. Thus, it is easy to see that delirium with Covid-19 is common, severe, and its median duration of 10 days is much longer compared with other infections. What is worth noting, however, is that so far we do not know whether these problems are the result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself or of the body’s reaction. However, according to doctors and scientists, there is no doubt that Covid-19 is thus an even more difficult experience for the sick and the recovered released into the home, who apparently are not fully healthy after all.

Therefore, they emphasize that this is another reason to do everything to avoid getting sick, for example, by getting vaccinated: – Overall, this study highlights another reason to get vaccinated and prevent getting sick. Patients may experience long-term neurological complications that perhaps we don’t talk about as much as we should, explains anesthesiologist Phillip Vlisides of Michigan Medicine. Suffice it to say here that at the beginning of the pandemic, no one paid much attention to the incidence of delirium, and there was no talk of the need for exercise and other activities to improve cognitive abilities, such as talking to family and friends, meanwhile, the key to a quick recovery is to hit all the symptoms of the disease, because as we are just learning, prolonged delirium usually means extended hospitalization and a more difficult recovery.

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