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Long COVID was Apparent by Summer 2020 and in a Wide Range of Patients



It was in August of 2020 that physiatrist Leslie Rydberg, MD, and her colleagues began to notice that patients who had recovered from infection with SARS-CoV-2 months earlier continued to experience a wide range of lingering symptoms. Further, it wasn't only patients who had been treated in the ICU for severe disease or even been admitted to the hospital. Patients who had had mild or moderate COVID-19 were describing brain fog, myalgias, shortness of breath and much more.

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 Rehabilitatino (AAPM&R), spoke with Patient Care about the early days of understanding long COVID and her role in preparing 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).

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, published in the PM&R Journal. 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 of them can be found here. An additional consensus guidance statement on Long COVID in mental health will be published next.

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