In The News

One-fifth of asymptomatic COVID patients developed long-haul symptoms

Modern Healthcare
Lisa Gillespie
 
Almost one-fifth of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients later developed conditions associated with long-haulers, according to a new white paper from FAIR Health.
 
The healthcare transparency not-for-profit studied private insurance claims associated with 1.9 million patients who had a COVID-19 test, and then and looked at any health issues 30 days or more after their initial diagnosis. The analysis found 19% of asymptomatic individuals had at least one long-haul symptom, but the number is likely larger.
 
"A large number of asymptomatic people probably escaped attention in the early months of the pandemic, because testing wasn't that widely available," FAIR Health president Robin Gelburd said. "This should alert physicians and other providers to being attentive to those kinds of symptoms, because they may not have had a COVID-19 diagnosis in their chart."
 
The most common post-COVID-19 conditions include pain, breathing difficulty, high cholesterol, fatigue and hypertension. Anxiety was also commonly reported.
 
Meanwhile, half of patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 had associated conditions after diagnosis, and 27.5% who had symptoms when tested later had linked conditions. The ranking of the most common post-COVID conditions varied by age group. For example, in the under 18 population, pain and breathing difficulties were the top two conditions.
 
"If someone tested positive, and escaped getting quite ill or were completely symptomatic, they should be attentive to the fact that they may still be exposed to some lingering symptoms," Gelburd said. "If they are experiencing different kinds of conditions that are atypical from the time before the diagnosis, they should communicate the fact that they tested positive, even though they may not have been quite sick."
 
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The Delta variant is serious. Here’s why it's on the rise.

National Geographic – By Sanjay Mishra

With vaccination rates slowing in the United States, and other countries struggling to secure vaccines, public health experts have growing concerns that the so-called Delta coronavirus variant, first identified in India in March, could trigger dramatic rises in cases and deaths in the U.S. and the world.

The Delta variant already accounts for 18 percent of cases in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, and about six percent of cases nationwide. It has already spread to more than 70 countries and is now the most dominant variant in India, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. Last week, Delta caused more than 90 percent of the new COVID-19 cases in the U.K., leading to a 65 percent bump in new infections since May 1. On Monday, to curb Delta’s spread, the U.K. government decided to postpone “freedom day,” which would mark the end of public health restrictions.

The Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant—first identified in the U.K.—which in turn was about 50 percent more transmissible than the ancestral Wuhan strain. “It’s a super spreader variant, that is worrisome,” says Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. It has features that enable escape from the immune system and is perhaps more evasive than the Beta variant (B.1.351) first identified in South Africa, which was the worst until now, says Topol. “Plus, it has the highest transmissibility of anything we've seen so far. It's a very bad combination.”

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Supreme Court dismisses ACA challenge

Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the challenge to the Affordable Care Act in a 7-2 decision. Court Justices did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, but said no harm was caused to the plaintiffs, and consequently there was no legal standing to sue, because Congress had reduced the individual mandate penalty to zero dollars.

"For these reasons, we conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants' conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional," Justice Breyer wrote in 
the decision. "They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision." Justices Alito and Gorsuch dissented from the majority opinion.

 

Rehab program helps frail older adults with heart failure

Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among older adults in the United States. In heart failure, the heart doesn’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. People with heart failure live with symptoms that greatly reduce their quality of life. These can include shortness of breath, exhaustion, coughing, and swelling in the legs and abdomen.

Studies have shown that exercise training can help reduce symptoms in people with heart failure. However, such studies have largely excluded frail older adults with other health conditions. Due to bed rest and other factors, this group is especially vulnerable to experiencing physical decline while hospitalized for heart failure.

A research team led by Dr. Dalane Kitzman from Wake Forest University tested a new exercise rehabilitation program built specifically for older, frail adults. The goal of the program was to improve people’s endurance, measured by the amount of time they could walk unaided. It also addressed problems with strength, balance, and mobility that prevented people from making endurance gains.

The program was personalized to each individual’s baseline abilities and goals. Unlike other exercise rehabilitation strategies, the new program was designed to begin while people were still hospitalized, rather than after discharge. It then included outpatient sessions three times a week for three months.

At a Glance

  • Older, frail adults with heart failure who participated in a personalized physical rehab program improved their endurance, strength, balance, and quality of life.
  • More than 80% of participants reported that they were still exercising at home six months after completing the program.

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Diversity and Entrepreneurship in Physical Therapy: A Panel Discussion

The APTA Colorado Chapter Student SIG presents a panel discussion with clinicians from varying professional and personal backgrounds who will be discussing entrepreneurship in physical therapy.

When: Wednesday, June 23 | 6:00pm - 7:30pm MT

This FREE discussion is live via Zoom and open to all Students, PTs, PTAs and non-members. 

Click here for more information.

 
 
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