Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the pathogen responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has resulted in global healthcare crises and strained health resources. As the population of patients recovering from COVID-19 grows, it is paramount to establish an understanding of the healthcare issues surrounding them. COVID-19 is now recognized as a multi-organ disease with a broad spectrum of manifestations. Similarly to post-acute viral syndromes described in survivors of other virulent coronavirus epidemics, there are increasing reports of persistent and prolonged effects after acute COVID-19. Patient advocacy groups, many members of which identify themselves as long haulers, have helped contribute to the recognition of post-acute COVID-19, a syndrome characterized by persistent symptoms and/or delayed or long-term complications beyond 4 weeks from the onset of symptoms. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the current literature on post-acute COVID-19, its pathophysiology and its organ-specific sequelae. Finally, we discuss relevant considerations for the multidisciplinary care of COVID-19 survivors and propose a framework for the identification of those at high risk for post-acute COVID-19 and their coordinated management through dedicated COVID-19 clinics.

Main

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has caused morbidity and mortality at an unprecedented scale globally1. Scientific and clinical evidence is evolving on the subacute and long-term effects of COVID-19, which can affect multiple organ systems2. Early reports suggest residual effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as fatigue, dyspnea, chest pain, cognitive disturbances, arthralgia and decline in quality of life3,4,5. Cellular damage, a robust innate immune response with inflammatory cytokine production, and a pro-coagulant state induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection may contribute to these sequelae6,7,8. Survivors of previous coronavirus infections, including the SARS epidemic of 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak of 2012, have demonstrated a similar constellation of persistent symptoms, reinforcing concern for clinically significant sequelae of COVID-19 (refs. 9,10,11,12,13,14,15).

Systematic study of sequelae after recovery from acute COVID-19 is needed to develop an evidence-based multidisciplinary team approach for caring for these patients, and to inform research priorities. A comprehensive understanding of patient care needs beyond the acute phase will help in the development of infrastructure for COVID-19 clinics that will be equipped to provide integrated multispecialty care in the outpatient setting. While the definition of the post-acute COVID-19 timeline is evolving, it has been suggested to include persistence of symptoms or development of sequelae beyond 3 or 4 weeks from the onset of acute symptoms of COVID-19 (refs. 16,17), as replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 has not been isolated after 3 weeks18. For the purpose of this review, we defined post-acute COVID-19 as persistent symptoms and/or delayed or long-term complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond 4 weeks from the onset of symptoms (Fig. 1). Based on recent literature, it is further divided into two categories: (1) subacute or ongoing symptomatic COVID-19, which includes symptoms and abnormalities present from 4–12 weeks beyond acute COVID-19; and (2) chronic or post-COVID-19 syndrome, which includes symptoms and abnormalities persisting or present beyond 12 weeks of the onset of acute COVID-19 and not attributable to alternative diagnoses17,19. Herein, we summarize the epidemiology and organ-specific sequelae of post-acute COVID-19 and address management considerations for the interdisciplinary comprehensive care of these patients in COVID-19 clinics 

For More Information: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01283-z

Better Anticoagulated Than Not! Hypercoagulability in COVID-19

Authors: Dhauna P. Karam, MD1

Incidence of thrombotic complications in patients with COVID-19 who are critically ill is high, with an estimated incidence of 31% for arterial or venous thromboembolism (VTE), acute pulmonary embolism, ischemic stroke, and myocardial infarction. On the basis of the study by Klok et al,1 pulmonary embolism was the most common thrombotic complication in critically ill patients with COVID-19 despite being on standard anticoagulation. Prevention of thromboembolism with anticoagulants is recommended in all critically ill patients with COVID-19.

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) guideline panel (updated April 7, 2021) recommends prophylactic anticoagulation in all critically ill patients with COVID-19 without suspected or confirmed venous thromboembolism (VTE). ASH defines patients with COVID-19 critical illness as someone who is suffering from a life-threatening condition, typically admitted in an intensive care unit. It is recommended that individualized assessment of the patient’s thrombotic and bleeding risk needs to be performed before deciding on anticoagulation.2 What about hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who are not critically ill? What are some clinical parameters that can be used to guide decisions on anticoagulant use in such patients?

The accompanying manuscript by Gaddh et al3 reports guidelines used in a large academic institution, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, to determine anticoagulation in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The guidelines were created by a multidisciplinary panel of experts and were incorporated into frontline care at Emory. The three-tiered algorithm was used to risk stratify patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. It was not recommended for use in patients incidentally found to have COVID-19 during hospitalization for other causes. On the basis of the guidelines, patients with normal D-dimer, no evidence of thromboembolism and not critically ill were given prophylactic anticoagulation (group 1). Patients with elevated D-dimer (> 6 times upper limit normal) with no evidence of thromboembolism and not critically ill were given intermediate-dose anticoagulation. Patients critically ill without any evidence of thromboembolism and without elevation of D-dimer were also given intermediate-dose anticoagulation. Patients with confirmed thromboembolism or those with other markers of possible thromboembolism (worsening hypoxia or pulmonary status without identifiable cause and limb edema) received therapeutic anticoagulation. Anticoagulation was continued for 1 week after discharge in group 1 patients. Group 2 received anticoagulation for 4-6 weeks after discharge. Finally, group 3 received anticoagulation for minimum 3 months postdischarge. Preliminary findings revealed low bleeding complications. Data on type of anticoagulant used, incidence of thromboembolism in the hospitalized group following the above guidelines, and improvement in morbidity and mortality rates were not provided. The algorithm is a simple, practical statement, which can guide frontline caregivers until evidence-based recommendations become available. Group 1 and 3 recommendations are supported by major organizational guidelines such as ASH and International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH). Preliminary guidelines from these organizations refrain from commenting strongly on intermediate-dose anticoagulation in the absence of supporting data from clinical trials but do support anticoagulant dose escalation on the basis of clinician’s assessment for high-risk patients.2,4

For More Information: https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/OP.21.00359

COVID-19 – A vascular disease

Authors: Hasan K. Siddiqi,a,bPeter Libby,a,⁎ and Paul M Ridkera,b

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) leads to multi-system dysfunction with emerging evidence suggesting that SARS-CoV-2-mediated endothelial injury is an important effector of the virus. Potential therapies that address vascular system dysfunction and its sequelae may have an important role in treating SARS-CoV-2 infection and its long-lasting effects.

SARS-CoV-2 infection and vascular dysfunction

In health, the vascular endothelium maintains homeostasis through regulation of immune competence, inflammatory equilibrium, tight junctional barriers, hemodynamic stability as well as optimally balanced thrombotic and fibrinolytic pathways. In the novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), dysregulation of many of these pathways has emerged as a mediator of severe disease. The constellation of clinical and biomarker derangements seen in COVID-19 can be classified into disruption of the immune, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA), and thrombotic balance, all of which converge on the vascular endothelium as a common pathway. Accumulating evidence from basic science, imaging and clinical observations, has clarified the picture of COVID-19 as a vascular disease. Understanding the disease in this context may provide novel avenues of understanding COVID-19 and lead to critically needed improvements in therapeutic strategies.

SARS-CoV-2 uses the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to facilitate entry into target cells and initiate infection. This viral entry into the cell is further mediated by transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) and cathepsin L which cleave the S protein on the viral particle to permit engagement with ACE2 [1]. Endothelial cells (ECs) in general and cardiac pericytes in particular express abundant ACE2, making them a direct target of SARS-CoV-2 infection (Fig. 1 ) [2]. Examination of the pulmonary vascular bed shows severe derangements in COVID-19, compared to control and influenza patients, particularly with widespread thrombosis and microangiopathy, endothelial activation and extensive angiogenesis [3]. These studies and pervasive findings establish the role of viral injury to the vascular system with resulting vascular dysfunction in COVID-19 patients [4].

Fig. 1

Open in a separate windowFig. 1

SARS-CoV-2 Induced Endothelial Injury

Legend: A schematic of SARS-CoV-2 infection and proposed resulting endothelial injury, involving immune activation, pro-thrombotic milieu, and RAAS dysregulation. These insults interact with each other to cause end-organ dysfunction that is manifest in many COVID-19 patients.

TMPRSS2 = Transmembrane protease serine 2; ADAM17 = A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17; TNF = Tumor necrosis factor; TNFr = Tumor necrosis factor receptor; TLR = toll-like receptor; DAMPs = Damage-associated molecular patterns; PAMPs = Pathogen-associated molecular patterns; PAI-1 = plasminogen activator inhibitor-1; vWF = von Willebrand factor; eNOS = endothelial nitric oxide; tPA = tissue plasminogen activator; AT1R = angiotensin 1 receptor; ARDS = acute respiratory distress syndrome.

For More Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556303/

Peer-Reviewed Publications about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by Yale Authors

Sharing knowledge about COVID-19 (coronavirus) is vital to our efforts as we fight the pandemic. Yale researchers are publishing their discoveries about COVID-19 (coronavirus) in peer-reviewed publications. Check back frequently to access the latest findings.

Peer-Reviewed COVID-19 Publications from Yale

  • A new positive SARS-CoV-2 test months after severe COVID-19 illness: reinfection or intermittent viral shedding?Tuan J, Spichler-Moffarah A, Ogbuagu OA new positive SARS-CoV-2 test months after severe COVID-19 illness: reinfection or intermittent viral shedding? BMJ Case Reports CP 2021;14:e240531.
  • Hydroxychloroquine treatment does not reduce COVID-19 mortality; underdosing to the wrong patients? – Authors’ replyRentsch CT, DeVito NJ, MacKenna B, Morton CE, Bhaskaran K, Brown JP, Schultze A, Hulme WJ, Croker R, Walker AJ, Williamson EJ, Bates C, Bacon S, Mehrkar A, Curtis HJ, Evans D, Wing K, Inglesby P, Mathur R, Drysdale H, Wong AYS, McDonald HI, Cockburn J, Forbes H, Parry J, Hester F, Harper S, Smeeth L, Douglas IJ, Dixon WG, Evans SJW, Tomlinson L, Goldacre B. Hydroxychloroquine treatment does not reduce COVID-19 mortality; underdosing to the wrong patients? – Authors’ reply. Lancet Rheumatology 2021; epub ahead of print. DOI: 10.1016/S2665-9913(21)00030-8
  • Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation for prevention of COVID-19 mortality: a nationwide cohort study of hospitalized patients in the United StatesRentsch CT, Beckman JA, Tomlinson L, Gellad WF, Alcorn C, Kidwai-Khan F, Skanderson M, Brittain E, King JT, Ho Y-L, Eden S, Kundu S, Lann MF, Greevy RA, Ho PM, Heidenreich PA, Jacobson DA, Douglas IJ, Tate JP, Evans SJ, Atkins D, Justice AC, Freiberg MS. Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation for prevention of COVID-19 mortality: a nationwide cohort study of hospitalized patients in the United States. BMJ 2021; (in press)
  • Factors associated with COVID-19-related death using OpenSAFELY.Williamson EJ, Walker AJ, Bhaskaran K, Bacon S, Bates C, Morton CE, Curtis HJ, Mehrkar A, Evans D, Inglesby P, Cockburn J, McDonald HI, MacKenna B, Tomlinson L, Douglas IJ, Rentsch CT, Mathur R, Wong AYS, Grieve R, Harrison D, Forbes H, Schultze A, Croker R, Parry J, Hester F, Harper S, Perera R, Evans SJW, Smeeth L, Goldacre B. Factors associated with COVID-19-related death using OpenSAFELY. Nature 2020, 584:430-436.
  • Risk of COVID-19-related death among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma prescribed inhaled corticosteroids: an observational cohort study using the OpenSAFELY platform.Schultze A, Walker AJ, MacKenna B, Morton CE, Bhaskaran K, Brown JP, Rentsch CT, Williamson E, Drysdale H, Croker R, Bacon S, Hulme W, Bates C, Curtis HJ, Mehrkar A, Evans D, Inglesby P, Cockburn J, McDonald HI, Tomlinson L, Mathur R, Wing K, Wong AYS, Forbes H, Parry J, Hester F, Harper S, Evans SJW, Quint J, Smeeth L, Douglas IJ, Goldacre B, OpenSAFELY Collaborative.. Risk of COVID-19-related death among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma prescribed inhaled corticosteroids: an observational cohort study using the OpenSAFELY platform. Lancet Respir Med 2020, 8:1106-1120.
  • Effect of pre-exposure use of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 mortality: a population-based cohort study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus using the OpenSAFELY platform.Rentsch CT, DeVito NJ, MacKenna B, Morton CE, Bhaskaran K, Brown JP, Schultze A, Hulme WJ, Croker R, Walker AJ, Williamson EJ, Bates C, Bacon S, Mehrkar A, Curtis HJ, Evans D, Wing K, Inglesby P, Mathur R, Drysdale H, Wong AYS, McDonald HI, Cockburn J, Forbes H, Parry J, Hester F, Harper S, Smeeth L, Douglas IJ, Dixon WG, Evans SJW, Tomlinson L, Goldacre B. Effect of pre-exposure use of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 mortality: a population-based cohort study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus using the Open SAFELY platform. Lancet Rheumatol 2021, 3:e19-e27.

For More Information: https://covid.yale.edu/research/publications/peer-reviewed/

What Does COVID Do to Your Blood?

Authors: Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S., Robert Brodsky, M.D.

COVID-19 is a very complex illness. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the body in many different ways, ranging from mild to life threatening. Different organs and tissues of the body can be affected, including the blood.

Robert Brodsky, a blood specialist who directs the Division of Hematology, and Panagis Galiatsatos, a specialist in lung diseases and critical care medicine, talk about blood problems linked to SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — and what you should know.

Coronavirus Blood Clots

Blood clots can cause problems ranging from mild to life threatening. If a clot blocks blood flow in a vein or artery, the tissue normally nourished by that blood vessel can be deprived of oxygen, and cells in that area can die.

Some people infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop abnormal blood clotting. “In some people with COVID-19, we’re seeing a massive inflammatory response, the cytokine storm that raises clotting factors in the blood,” says Galiatsatos, who treats patients with COVID-19.

“We are seeing more blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), legs (deep vein thrombosis) and elsewhere,” he says.

Brodsky notes that other serious illnesses, especially ones that cause inflammation, are associated with blood clots. Research is still exploring if the blood clots seen in severe cases of COVID-19 are unique in some way. 

The Impact of Coronavirus Blood Clots Throughout the Body

In addition to the lungs, blood clots, including those associated with COVID-19, can also harm:

The nervous system. Blood clots in the arteries leading to the brain can cause a stroke. Some previously young, healthy people who have developed COVID-19 have suffered strokes, possibly due to abnormal blood clotting.

The kidneys. Clogging of blood vessels in the kidney with blood clots can lead to kidney failure. It can also complicate dialysis if the clots clog the filter of the machine designed to remove impurities in the blood.

Peripheral blood vessels and “COVID toe.” Small blood clots can become lodged in tiny blood vessels. When this happens close to the skin, it can result in a rash. Some people who test positive for COVID-19 develop tiny blood clots that cause reddish or purple areas on the toes, which can itch or be painful. Sometimes called COVID toe, the rash resembles frostbite.

For More Information: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/what-does-covid-do-to-your-blood

The complement system in COVID-19: friend and foe?

Authors: Anuja Java,1 Anthony J. Apicelli,2 M. Kathryn Liszewski,3 Ariella Coler-Reilly,3 John P. Atkinson,3 Alfred H.J. Kim,3 and Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni4

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in a global pandemic and a disruptive health crisis. COVID-19–related morbidity and mortality have been attributed to an exaggerated immune response. The role of complement activation and its contribution to illness severity is being increasingly recognized. Here, we summarize current knowledge about the interaction of coronaviruses with the complement system. We posit that (a) coronaviruses activate multiple complement pathways; (b) severe COVID-19 clinical features often resemble complementopathies; (c) the combined effects of complement activation, dysregulated neutrophilia, endothelial injury, and hypercoagulability appear to be intertwined to drive the severe features of COVID-19; (d) a subset of patients with COVID-19 may have a genetic predisposition associated with complement dysregulation; and (e) these observations create a basis for clinical trials of complement inhibitors in life-threatening illness.

For More Information: https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/140711

Hypercoagulability in COVID-19: A review of the potential mechanisms underlying clotting disorders

Authors: Walid Alam

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 has emerged as a new viral pandemic, causing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) leading to a wide array of symptoms ranging from asymptomatic to severe respiratory failure. However, coagulation disorders have been found in some patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, leading to either a clotting disorder or hemorrhage. Several mechanisms attempt to explain the mechanism behind the pro-coagulant state seen with COVID-19 patients, including different receptor binding, cytokine storm, and direct viral endothelial damage. SARS-CoV-2 has also been recently found to bind to CLEC4M receptor, a receptor that participates in the clearance of von Willebrand Factor and Factor VIII. The competitive binding of SARS-CoV-2 to CLEC4M could lead to decreased clearance, and therefore a promotion of a pro-coagulative state; however, an experimental study needs to be done to prove such an association.

For More Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7989108/