If patients die from the consequences of COVID-19 disease, it is mainly due to pneumonia or lung failure. The coronavirus can also lead to heart attack and stroke and cause persistent neurological damage.

At the beginning of the coronary pandemic, doctors had assumed that those who survived COVID-19 disease would be well. However, there are increasing indications that COVID-19 could lead to serious and permanent consequential damage. This includes constant breathing and lung problems, but also serious damage to blood vessels and the brain. Months later, the risk of thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke is significantly increased.

COVID-19 can lead to inflammatory processes in the brain

“All of this is probably due to damage to the endothelium that drives the vessels through the virus,” explains Ulrike Protzer from the Technical University of Munich. This then causes platelets to accumulate there to repair the damage. Thrombosis can result from overlap.

Doctors now suspect that inflammatory processes lead to blockages in blood vessels. How long they will take is not yet clear. Some patients report long-term circulatory problems, others tiredness that persists months after the illness. Headaches or a decreased sense of smell or taste are also reported.

Possible serious neurological complications

It is not yet clear how often COVID-19 causes neurological damage. According to a study by researchers from the University of Liverpool, 900 cases of neurological complications were known worldwide by mid-May – including over a hundred serious diseases such as meningitis or the so-called Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which patients suffer from paralysis.

Brain damage even with easy courses?

University College London neurologists also reported in the Brain journal that the coronavirus was already present in patients with only mild symptoms or in those who had recovered. Can cause brain damage. However, these are usually recognized late or not at all.

Previously, researchers led by Dr. Michael Zandi, lead author of the study, examined more than 40 Covid-19 patients and found an acute demyelinating enzyme (ADEM) in some of them. It is an inflammatory disease that leads to degenerative destruction of the central nervous system.

Consequences similar to multiple sclerosis

“We have never seen Covid-19 attack the brain with other viruses,” says Zandi. Massive brain damage, which also occurs in patients with mild coronary symptoms, is particularly rare.

Experts diagnosed inflammation of the central nervous system in a total of twelve of the examined patients, in ten a temporary brain disease with delirium or psychosis. “From a biological point of view, ADEM has some similarities to multiple sclerosis, but is more serious and usually only occurs once,” explains Zandi. Some patients will be disabled in the long term, while others will recover, the study author said.

A final assessment is not yet possible

According to experts, however, it is too early to be able to finally assess whether and to what extent brain damage can also occur with light courses. To monitor the relevant courses, the University Hospital Munich in Großhadern has now set up a contact point for patients with Covid 19-Soft courses.

“As with any disease that is new and that we have not yet fully understood, you need to examine exactly what will happen in the coming months and years,” explains Professor Matthias Klein from the Department of Neurology in Großhadern. . At the moment you can not rate it in any way.

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