We have a new medical acronym which stands for post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

COVID-19 is the gift that continues giving. After effects of infection include respiratory issues, cardiovascular, renal, dermatologic, neurologic, and psychiatric issues.

PASC is the formal name for what had been called long-term COVID. PASC becomes a concern if symptoms persist four or more weeks after the initial or suspected infection, regardless of whether the individual was hospitalized for COVID. Further, the current recommendation is that at four weeks, individual receive a full battery of lab tests.

Patients with new or ongoing symptoms 4 weeks or longer after the start of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be offered blood tests, including a full blood count as well as kidney and liver function, C‑reactive protein, ferritin, B‑type natriuretic peptide, and thyroid function tests

The following are recognized risk factors for kidney damage from COVID-19:

  • Severity of COVID-19
  • Degree of viremia (presence of virus in blood stream)
  • Respiratory status
  • Nonrespiratory organ involvement (e.g., diarrhea)
  • Leukocytosis (excess of white blood cells indicating inflammation)
  • Lymphopenia (reduction in the count of a certain white blood cell that places the individual at risk for infection)
  • Elevated markers of inflammation (e.g., ferritin, C-reactive protein, D-dimer)
  • Hypovolemia/dehydration
  • Rhabdomyolysis (rapid breakdown of damaged skeletal muscles, producing byproducts harmful to kidneys)
  • Medication exposure (e.g., angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, statins, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

PASC or long COVID may warrant a visit to your doctor, even if the initial infection didn’t seem to require it.

What isn’t clear from the writings on PASC is whether the concerns apply equally to men and women. A Vanderbilt University research group has weighed in on the need for a gendered response to COVID: the virus is a financial burden to women but tends disproportionately to kill men.(2) Does PASC do that as well?




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