Guidelines for the follow-up of Covid sequelae: results of the first phase of the PASCNET project

Guidelines for the follow-up of Covid sequelae: results of the first phase of the PASCNET project


OfClaudio Lucifora *

Long Covid is a problem that affects 6% of those who have contracted the infection. In Italy there are no guidelines for patients, but the project paves the way for taking care of patients

In May 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the Covid19 pandemic emergency over.

The statistics collected by the WHO remind us that since the beginning of the pandemic there have been over 765,222,932 cases of contagion worldwide, with almost seven million deaths. In the alone Lombardythe infections were over 4 million and almost 50 thousand deaths.

Although, for the moment, we can consider the Covid19 pandemic challenge won, many people, even years after the infection, still live with debilitating effects of Long-Covid or, as better defined in the medical literature, “PASC” or the post-acute sequelae of Sars-Cov-2 infection.
Among the most frequently reported symptoms are muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, memory or language lapses (so-called brain fog) which, in the most serious cases, can compromise the performance of normal daily functions.

The project

WHO estimates that approximately 6 percent of those who have contracted the infection present the symptoms of Long-Covid. This is in fact a new public health emergency, for which we are not yet fully equipped at the moment. One of the reasons is that, to date in Italy, there are no guidelines for the care of patients suffering from Long-Covid.

To fill this gap, the Cariplo Foundation has financed the PASCNET project, coordinated by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, which involves, in a new alliance, various actors of the National Health Service: the health protection agencies, the socio-healthcare companies territorial and scientific hospitalization and treatment institutes, and a representation of general practitioners.

The results of the first phase of the project, obtained thanks to the collaboration between clinicians from the main healthcare and research institutions in Lombardy, were recently published in the volume «Guidelines for the follow-up of the sequelae of COVID-19: results of the first phase of the PASCNET project». In fact, this is a first proposal for guidelines for the follow up of patients affected by PASC, with reference to the various pathologies which, in the international literature and clinical practice of Long-Covid, have been most frequently associated with the symptoms of the infection: from pneumological aspects, to cardiovascular problems and metabolic syndromes, up to neuro-psychiatric diseases.
The bet is that the guidelines collected in the volume can be of support for clinical practicehelp optimize the care of patients suffering from the post-acute sequelae of Covid infection, but above all offer prospects for recovery and improve their health.

* Claudio Lucifora, Coordinator of the PASCNET project, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.

March 11, 2024

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