WHO to study ‘long COVID’

Jan. 27, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it updated its COVID-19 clinical management guidelines. It also announced plans to address in February so-called ‘long COVID,’ where people who have recovered from COVID-19 continue to have longer-term issues like extreme fatigue, persistent cough and exercise intolerance, according to a news release.

The WHO said it will organize “a series of consultations to reach consensus on a description of long COVID and its subtypes and case definitions. This scientific understanding will inform the name of the condition. The consultations will include a broad range of stakeholders, including patient groups.”

As far as the updated clinical management guidelines, the WHO recommends:

· COVID-19 patients at home use pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels in their blood.

· Providers use low dose anticoagulants to prevent the blood clots forming in blood vessels (thrombosis) for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

· Providers position hospitalized COVID-19 patients on their stomachs to increase oxygen flow (awake prone positioning) if the patients are taking supplemental oxygen or non-invasive ventilation.

The guidelines also include recommendations on the use of care bundles to systematize the provision of care to COVID-19 patients, as well as a recommendation to favor clinical judgement over models in making decisions for the patient’s care, the WHO said.

The WHO said the recommendations were made by an independent panel of experts, the Guideline Development Group, on the basis of detailed rapid reviews of all available evidence.

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