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Long COVID Typically Presents in Symptom Clusters, Rarely as a Single Complaint, Expert Explains



In her patients with long COVID, physiatrist Leslie Rydberg, MD, says sleep disorders are among the most common neurologic symptoms she sees. But long COVID symptoms rarely occur in isolation, Rydberg explained; the "vast majority" of people diagnosed with the condition have clusters of symptoms, sometimes affecting multiple organ systems, other times related predominately to one system.

Rydberg is a coauthor of the recently published Multidisciplinary collaborative consensus guidance statement on the assessment and treatment of neurologic sequelae in patients with post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), the most recent in a series of guidance documents created by the Multi-Disciplinary PASC Collaborative to provide best practices from established long COVID clinics in caring for patients with the wide array of symptoms.

Rydberg, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and medical education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, recently spoke with Patient Care® about the statement and about neurologic symtpoms, specifically.

Leslie Rydberg, MD, is associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and medical education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Henry and Monika Betts medical student education chair and assistant residency program director at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago, IL.

The new statement on diagnosis and management neurologic sequelae of COVID-19 is part of a multidisciplinary collaborative consensus guidance series for the most predominant long COVID symptoms. The first consensus guidance on fatigue was released in August 2021, followed by guidance on breathing discomfort and cognitive symptoms in December, cardiovascular complications in June 2022 and pediatrics and autonomic dysfunction in September. Links to all the current guidance statements can be found here. An additional consensus guidance statement on Long COVID in mental health will be published next.

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