Kolkata

Coronavirus | COVID-19 patient deaths even after recovery worries doctors

A health worker collects a swab sample for the COVID-19 test inside a single screen cinema hall building in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR

Doctors are now worried about a small but increasing number of patients dying suddenly due to a heart attack or stroke or succumbing to bacterial infection once they leave hospital after being cured of COVID-19.

In Kolkata, two practising doctors died earlier this week shortly after recovering from COVID-19. Urologist Subrata Mitra, who was in his early 50s, died of a massive heart attack within days of rejoining work, while physician Dr. Aniket Neogi, in his late thirties, died in his sleep.

The deaths of these two doctors has now brought to light the fact that it is not uncommon for patients to succumb to COVID-19-induced conditions even after they have been cured of the infection and discharged from hospital.

‘Bad for blood vessels’

“COVID-19 appears to be particularly bad for the blood vessels. It can cause blood clots in spite of the use of blood thinners. This places us in a strange predicament. COVID-19 is nothing like what is described in online journals — it’s a terribly unpredictable disease,” internal medicine specialist Dr. Rahul Jain, who has attended to nearly 1,000 COVID-19 patients till date, told The Hindu.

“The infection induces myocarditis, which causes the heart to go out of rhythm — it can beat either very slow or very fast. This usually happens from the third week onwards of the infection. I had a patient whose heart rate was fluctuating between 35 and 150 a minute. He went home after a few days in ICU, but if he wasn’t in hospital, he would have died in a matter of minutes,” Dr. Jain said.

He added: “Presently there is no way we can predict when a patient will get a bout of life-threatening heart rhythm abnormality.” He strongly recommended autopsies of patients who die shortly after discharge from hospital and said that the practice, followed with biosafety measures, would go a long way in helping medical science.

Cardiologist Dr. Koushik Chaki, a founding member of the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum, said: “While we need more in-depth studies to understand the situation, there should be a more intensive follow-up in place post COVID to watch out for cardiac and pulmonary complications. Since even the young are not spared, rehabilitation needs to be gradual — six to eight weeks may be reasonable, although studies are awaited — and one should not be inducted into stressful situations before a thorough evaluation of their cardiac and pulmonary health.”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 8:12:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/covid-19-patients-dying-even-after-recovery-worries-doctors/article33140515.ece

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