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Many patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 continue to experience difficulties and persistent symptoms including dyspnea, cough, or exercise intolerance for weeks or even months following the infection. The cause of these symptoms is unknown and the physiologic impact on pulmonary, cardiac, neurologic, and vascular systems in post-COVID-19 survivors is still undefined.
At the UPMC Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic, our experts are working to better understand the virus and provide support and access to the latest treatments and trials for patients who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
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We have seen that many patients continue to struggle with the sequelae of COVID-19 infection. At the UPMC Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic, we accept referrals for patients who are experiencing the following lingering symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Exercise intolerance
If you are treating a patient with these symptoms, our team can help. We will evaluate symptomatic patients to diagnose underlying physiologic impairments responsible for their symptoms, determine if they are at risk for developing more advanced complications, and create a treatment and rehabilitation plan based on our evaluation.
1. Initial visit
Patients can be seen in-person or via telemedicine. More advanced symptoms, such as dyspnea on exertion or exercise intolerance will require a clinic visit as these patients may have cardiac injury, post-ARDS fibrotic lung disease, airway disease, parenchymal lung destruction, chronic pulmonary embolism, or myopathy.
2. Evaluation and testing
We will screen symptomatic patients for cardiopulmonary injury or impairment that was not present pre-infection or worse post-infection. Our initial evaluation for unexplained dyspnea or exercise intolerance may include routine testing such as echocardiogram, full pulmonary function testing, a six- minute walk, and laboratory data. We will also screen and refer patients to other specialists and services depending on their initial symptom assessment.
3. Additional testing
Depending on the results of this initial testing and any additional clinical indications, patients may undergo a second stage of testing with cardiac MRI, and either cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) or Advanced Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (ACPET).
Following the evaluation and testing process, our team will provide a recommendation for a treatment plan that best meets each patient’s need. We will coordinate with collaboration with specialties and our colleagues within UPMC to provide a continuum of care for patients post-COVID-19.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
How to Refer a Patient
Our team includes experts in pulmonary and critical care medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and cardiology. To speak with a member of our team or to refer a patient, call 412-648-6161.
For people with breathing problems, allergies, and other lung conditions or diseases, UPMC’s pulmonary experts can help. Our Comprehensive Lung Center provides cutting-edge diagnosis and treatment for diseases of the respiratory and pulmonary systems, whether the condition is acute or chronic. We also operate specialty centers for cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD and emphysema, pulmonary hypertension, lung transplants, interstitial lung diseases, and sleep disorders. Find an expert near you.