Cleveland Clinic patients who have persistent COVID-19 symptoms can now gain access to a wide variety of specialists and resources through a centralized reCOVer clinic evaluation and referral process.
The reCOVer clinic collaborates with Cleveland Clinic specialists from 18 different clinical areas, including cardiology, pulmonology, dermatology, ear nose and throat and neurocognition to understand and address the individual needs of patients with COVID-19 symptoms lasting more than 28 days, known as long COVID or Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC).
“There is currently research going on to determine how many people with COVID-19 infections have symptoms that do not resolve,” said Kristin Englund, M.D., an infectious disease physician who leads the reCOVer clinic. “However, we know that patients with lingering COVID-19 symptoms aren’t necessarily those who were hospitalized with severe cases initially. Many patients have had a fairly mild infection, yet, symptoms have persisted more than four weeks or potentially worsened after time.”
All patients in the reCOVer clinic, regardless of symptoms, will first undergo a series of evaluations and exams, which may take several weeks to complete. This includes an in-depth health history and questionnaires; cardiac, pulmonary and physical therapy tests; blood tests, and neurocognitive and behavioral health screenings. Once this is complete, patients will meet with reCOVer clinic providers to discuss the results and individual next steps. Depending on a patient’s results, symptoms and needs, clinical experts will determine the best care path for the patient moving forward and connect them with Cleveland Clinic specialists with specific expertise in long COVID-19 for continued care.
“We are committed to helping these patients, whose lives have been interrupted for weeks or months due to long COVID-19 symptoms,” said William Lago, M.D., a family medicine physician who was also involved in the development of the reCOVer clinic. “Like COVID-19 itself, long COVID-19 can include a wide array of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent fatigue and memory difficulties. However, many other factors also can contribute to what our patients are experiencing. This is a complex condition and one that we are understanding more about every day. By taking the time to perform multidisciplinary, comprehensive evaluations, we believe we can best partner with our patients in putting together treatment plans and setting them on a path to wellness.”
For patients who aren’t sure if they are experiencing long COVID-19 syndrome, Dr. Englund recommends they start by contacting their primary care physician.
The clinic sees adult patients who have had a positive PCR test result and have persistent COVID-19 symptoms that have lasted 28 days or longer after their initial positive PCR test result. The reCOVer clinic, while located at the Cleveland Clinic Independence Family Health Center, serves patients throughout Northeast Ohio via virtual platform. Currently, the clinic sees Cleveland Clinic patients by referral, but plans to expand services to any long COVID patient in the future.