There are three units responsible for post-COVID care at the Heart and Vascular Centre: cardiology, sports cardiology and the immunology clinic. The clinic is ready to accept patients who still experience symptoms six weeks after being infected with the virus: fatigue, non-specific chest pain and exercise intolerance. Post-COVID patients with acute symptoms are treated at the emergency department out of turn.
“Since the clinic’s main profile is cardiology, all patients who experience cardiovascular post-COVID symptoms come here. Their most common symptoms are chest pain, extreme fatigue and reduced exercise tolerance”, said dr. Dávid Becker, associate professor and deputy director of the Heart and Vascular Centre.
Since the onset of the virus in Hungary, the Heart and Vascular Centre has been actively engaging with COVID patients. April marked the start of the center’s post-COVID care. A specific work group was set up who were responsible for post-COVID patients and COVID related scientific research. This is a cooperation between residents, PhD students and three clinics: the general cardiology, the sports cardiology and the immunology ambulance. The sports cardiology clinic is led by dr. Hajnalka Vágó, associate professor of Semmelweis University. Dr. György Nagy, head of the Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, is responsible for post-COVID care at the immunology ambulance.
Post-COVID syndrome patients continue to have symptoms even 6 weeks after their infection cleared. If recovered patients are still coping with symptoms like non-specific chest-pain and reduced exercise tolerance, they are advised to see a doctor.
The sports cardiology clinic offers its services for athletes who have been affected by coronavirus. They are generally advised to come for treatment by their teams or the healthcare professional of their sport clubs. The opening of an immunology clinic is of utmost importance, the current pandemic situation is not the only reason, a number of cardiovascular symptoms are caused by immunological diseases. This may include autoimmune disorders, which appear together with vasculitis or even heart muscle diseases.
Patients willing to receive the cardiological and immunological post-COVID treatment of the Heart and Vascular Centre or the Department can get a referral from other COVID care sites of the university or from their general practitioners. Appointments can be made vie phone or by e-mail at email@example.com. The clinic also performs radiographic testing and laboratory examinations. This is followed by an ECG test and a pro-BNP and troponin (troponin can indicate the obstruction of the heart muscle) level test. Depending on their symptoms, patients can be referred to other post-COVID locations. Patients with acute symptoms will be treated at the emergency department out of turn.
“One of the characteristics of a coronavirus infection is that patients can develop thromboembolical diseases, like pulmonary embolism even after recovery. We should pay particular attention to this”, emphasized dr. Dávid Becker.
He also added that since the start of the post-COVID care system more than a hundred patients have been treated here. Additional appointments will be made available in case of an increased demand for treatment.
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Norbert Lukács