Long COVID, Post COVID Syndrome, and H.E.L.P. Apheresis
More than 3.5 million people have been diagnosed with acute COVID-19 infection in Germany to date and are considered to have recovered. But one in ten, or about 350,000 people, continue to suffer from various persistent symptoms such as extreme fatigue, breathing difficulties, chest and joint pain, and persistent fatigue. One in five people also experience psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances after acute COVID-19 infection. About 50 different symptoms are now described.
Dr. Jaeger addresses this clinical picture and proposes the extracorporeal procedure for Long COVID therapy – especially to preserve the microcirculation of the lungs. Dr. Jaeger points out that the importance of H.E.L.P. apheresis for COVID-19 therapy actually owes much to the observations of pathologists, namely because they described generalised endotheliitis in COVID-19:
“Viruses have already been detected in the alveolar epithelium and endothelial cells of deceased COVID-19 patients. They show a picture of simultaneous massive inflammatory and procoagulant activation with cell necrosis, thrombi, and massive fibrinoid deposits in the lung microcirculation. These fibrin deposits agglutinate the lung tissue and massively impede gas exchange.” In other words, H.E.L.P. apheresis can be used as a promising therapeutic approach for Long COVID syndrome due to its anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant effects.
Who is affected by Long COVID?
Long COVID can occur in all age groups from children to adults. Regardless of the severity of the acute COVID-19 infection – from asymptomatic to severe – Long COVID can severely impact a patient’s quality of life over a long period of time.
Dr. Jaeger’s goal is to increase public acceptance and awareness of Long COVID, initiate treatment approaches and research on the topic, and help Long COVID patients regain quality of life.
Over the past year, Dr. Jaeger has treated well over 200 patients with severe Long COVID symptoms with H.E.L.P. apheresis. The promising therapy results so far will soon be available as a study.