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The UPMC Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic

October 8, 2020

Following a COVID-19 infection, many patients experience persistent symptoms for weeks or even months and may struggle to return to their pre-infection level of health. The cause of these symptoms is not well-understood and the physiologic impact on pulmonary, cardiac, neurologic, and vascular systems in post-COVID-19 survivors is still undefined. Experts at UPMC are continuing our efforts to learn more about the virus, provide support for patients, and give them access to the latest treatment trials. 

At the UPMC Post-COVID Recovery Clinic, our goal is to diagnose and provide treatment options for patients with persistent symptoms post-COVID-19 including dyspnea, cough, or exercise intolerance. 

Post-COVID-19 Recovery 

As we work to learn more about COVID-19, we are also tasked with identifying its lasting complications and assisting patients through the recovery process. We have seen that many patients struggle for weeks to months with the sequelae of COVID-19 infection and experience lingering symptoms, including: 

  • Dyspnea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness 
  • Persistent cough 

Post-COVID Evaluation Process 

If you are treating a patient with these symptoms, our team at the UPMC Post-COVID Recovery Clinic can help. We will evaluate patients, who are experiencing persistent symptoms for more than three months after a COVID-19 infection, to diagnose underlying physiologic impairments responsible for their symptoms, determine if they are at risk for developing more advanced complications, and to create a treatment and rehabilitation plan based on our evaluation. 

Depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, the initial evaluation may be conducted via telemedicine. More advanced complications, such as resting dyspnea, dyspnea on exertion, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, fatigue, weakness, and persistent cough will require a clinic visit as these patients may have cardiac injury, post-ARDS fibrotic lung disease, airway disease, parenchymal lung destruction, chronic pulmonary embolism, or myopathy. 

We will screen symptomatic patients for cardiopulmonary injury or impairment that was not present pre-infection or is worse post-infection. Our initial evaluation for unexplained dyspnea or exercise intolerance will include routine testing such as echocardiogram, full pulmonary function testing, a six- minute walk, and laboratory data. 

Depending on the results of this initial testing and any additional clinical indications, patients may undergo a second stage of testing with cardiac MRI, and either cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) or Advanced Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (ACPET).  

Our Multidisciplinary Approach

Experts at the UPMC Post-COVID Recovery Clinic work in close collaboration with referring physicians and our colleagues within UPMC to provide a continuum of care for patients post-COVID-19. Depending on the patient’s needs, we will coordinate referral to other specialties, including the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases, and the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. 

Contact Us 

While the long-term health risks of COVID-19 are still unclear, UPMC is committed to providing the best care possible for patients. Learn more about the UPMC Comprehensive Lung Center and our response to COVID-19. 

To refer a patient to the UPMC Post-COVID Recovery Clinic, call (412) 648-6161.