Establishing our program at DHMC will provide access to a comprehensive medical team specializing in the various health problems we’re seeing in long-haul patients.Jeffrey Parsonnet, MD
As the medical community has worked at a rapid pace over the last year to learn about COVID-19, one of the most perplexing aspects of the disease has been the varied symptoms many patients encounter after the virus has run its course. Called Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome, or PACS, long-haul symptoms are those that continue more than 12 weeks after the initial infection and range from manageable to debilitating. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, body aches, and problems with memory and mental clarity, more commonly known as “brain fog.”
To meet the needs of the growing number of people impacted by post-acute symptoms, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) has launched the first post-COVID-19 program in northern New England. Led by Infectious Disease physician Jeffrey Parsonnet, MD, the team consists of 10 DHMC providers across medical disciplines.
“Physicians and researchers around the world have worked tirelessly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the complexities of this virus,” Parsonnet said. “While the development of effective vaccines in such a short period of time is a stunning achievement, this virus will continue to present issues for years to come— and we’re already seeing it in many of our post-COVID-19 patients. Establishing our program at DHMC will provide access to a comprehensive medical team specializing in the various health problems we’re seeing in long-haul patients. This team of doctors will expand over time as we continue to learn more about long-haul symptoms and how to improve the quality of life for persistent symptoms after COVID-19.”
Since it’s still unknown why people develop persistent symptoms after COVID-19, and with no specific therapies for it currently, treatment is largely palliative. The prevalence of this syndrome is significant, reported to occur in anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of COVID-19 patients. As scientists and physicians continue to learn about the virus, post-COVID-19 care programs, like the one at DHMC, are opening in hospitals across the United States to provide comprehensive and coordinated approach to COVID-19 aftercare.
The DHMC post-COVID-19 program will accept referrals of adult patients who meet the following criteria:
- A history of documented or likely COVID-19 infection, as defined by one of these criteria:
- Positive respiratory PCR or antigen test during acute illness.
- Positive serum antibody test.
- A history of acute COVID-19, based on typical symptoms and/or suggestive epidemiology.
- Symptoms that started after the onset of COVID-19 and are persisting for 12 weeks or more after the onset of symptoms.
- Have a primary care provider who places the referral and will be available for collaborative patient management and after-visit care.
To learn more about the post-acute COVID-19 program, call 603-650-9484 or visit: Post-Acute COVID Syndrome Clinic.
About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across northern New England. D-HH provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named again in 2020 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 9 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-HH system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.