The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 52 COVID patients today, 51 Wednesday. Other significant numbers:
- 27 with the active virus today, 26 Wednesday
- 5 in ICU, 5 Wednesday
- 3 on a ventilator, 3 Wednesday
Key points from today’s guests:
Mikayla Dreyer, POTS patient
- Mikayla is one in 17 adults -- an estimated 15 million people -- reporting long COVID symptoms in the U.S.
- In December 2020, 29-year-old Mikayla was diagnosed with COVID, and after months of suffering with very debilitating symptoms, she was referred to The University of Kansas Health System’s post-COVID clinic, a special clinic for COVID long haulers.
- Mikayla was diagnosed with something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) -- a condition normally seen with brain injuries and meningitis, but is now being seen in COVID patients.
- About a year ago, Mikayla found out she was pregnant, and within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, her symptoms disappeared.
- One explanation is that blood production doubles during pregnancy and that increase in blood volume helps keep things moving in a way that the body was struggling to do previously.
- She and baby are healthy now and she is thankful that the Health System believed her about her symptoms (because there is a stigma about long COVID symptoms), and put her on a treatment plan.
Dr. Branden Comfort, internal medicine specialist, The University of Kansas Health System
- POTS is triggered by other viral infections -- influenza, other cold viruses, and trauma. People who are bedridden for a prolonged period of time can develop POTS.
- What we saw during the COVID pandemic is that there are a lot of people developing POTS, and COVID is just one additional thing that can trigger it.
- The post-COVID clinic was developed because we saw that there were a large number of patients suffering from long COVID and we needed to set up a workflow to get patients connected the various specialists. The demand was quite substantial.
- For most people, long COVID symptoms can subside within a year, but there’s a small percent of people suffering for a couple of years or more with symptoms like debilitating fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, ongoing pulmonary issues, brain fog, and other cognitive deficits.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, The University of Kansas Health System
- Forbes reports more than half of long COVID patients suffer from organ damage up to one year after COVID, including damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.
- We are still learning about this disease with long-term factors.
- We really have to understand the biological mechanisms of this disease, and then hopefully over time that leads to more targeted treatments.
Friday, February 24 is the next Morning Medical Update. Ten years of pain gone with a surgery that made a woman feel 20 years younger. Learn more about one woman’s journey.