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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

In Delhi, patients ignoring symptoms, being rushed to hospitals later

Many hospitals have been seeing patients who didn’t pay attention to mild symptoms and get themselves tested but were later found to have antibodies against the virus.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi | Updated: November 26, 2020 9:03:42 am
A team checks temperature during door-to-door Covid-19 survey in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Doctors across the city have raised concerns over the rise in the number of patients ignoring mild Covid symptoms, which is now leading to fatal complications. Many hospitals have been seeing patients who didn’t pay attention to mild symptoms and get themselves tested but were later found to have antibodies against the virus.

These patients were rushed to the hospital when they started having moderate to major complications of Covid including high grade fever, severe body and muscle aches, stroke, leg thrombosis, lung fibrosis and cardiac involvement, experts said.

Dr Atul Kakar, vice-chairperson, Department of Internal Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: “In the last month alone, we treated close to 30 patients with Covid-induced moderate to major complications with no Covid test being done. Covid antibody test in all these patients returned positive. These patients came with involvement of lungs, nervous system, heart and blood vessels. Many patients who had lung involvement required oxygen term supplementation and few special medications.”

As per experts, severity of these diseases could have been limited by early testing and treatment. “People with mild Covid symptoms should not take it lightly. They should get tested immediately and be under medical supervision. Any persistence or deterioration should be reported on an urgent basis,” said Dr Kakar.

Read | Strict monitoring of home isolation cases needed: Delhi L-G

While most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover with home isolation, doctors say it is important to monitor patients, especially the elderly with pre-existing illness diseases like diabetes, cancer, and lung or kidney diseases.

Dr Vikas Maurya, director, head of pulmonology at Fortis hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said: “These are the patients who have already crossed the stage in which the virus cannot be detected in the RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests. But when you conduct an antibody test, they turn out to be positive. Many of them have severe respiratory infection with high levels of lung involvement. The virus may not get detected but these patients may be suffering from Covid pneumonia, a result of the virus in the lungs. It also shows that even if the test is negative, the effect of Covid-19 doesn’t fade away. This is not like other viruses and the physiology is quite different. The lungs are affected, we have seen intestinal pneumonia, heart attack, stroke.”

Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, also echoed the same: “As per protocol, we test each patient for Covid, but there are certain patients coming with pulmonary embolism, stroke, respiratory failure who tested negative but continue to show some symptoms. This is when we decide to conduct antibody tests and they are found to have antibodies against the virus.”

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