30 July 2021
Hundreds of Melbourne COVID-19 survivors are being recruited for a world-leading investigation into long-term heart damage caused by the virus.
The study, run by the Baker Institute, is looking into the effects of what is dubbed "long COVID" — where those who have previously tested positive report complications months after they have recovered.
A total of 900 patients, all of whom once tested positive for the virus, will be recruited by exercise testing and heart scans.
Medical care or physical rehabilitation will then be prescribed to the patients to help restore heart function.
Derrimut father Abhi Nair tested positive for COVID-19 a year ago, along with several members of his family.
Despite recovering, he reports significant breathing difficulty to this day when he is exercising.
"It is real and it has to be taken seriously," Mr Nair said.
"Maybe it's those extra cakes I had the night before, may have added to it, but it should not be that I can't walk up a flight of stairs. I can't do one. I can't run."
Professor Tom Marwick from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute says the true impacts of long COVID are not yet known.
"We don't know the magnitude of this problem in Australia," Professor Marwick says.
"It may damage the blood vessels and that probably leads to scarring in a number of tissues, including the heart."
Other reported symptoms of long COVID include a loss of taste and smell, extreme fatigue and problems with concentration.
Australians wishing to participate in the study can see more on the Baker Institute's website.
To participate you must be aged 18 and over and previously had a diagnosed COVID-19 infection.
— originally published by 9News, 29 July 2021
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