The CDC has posted new interim guidance for evaluating and caring for patients who experience persistent symptoms after a COVID-19 infection.
Key points in the new guidance are summarized below:
- The term “Post-COVID Conditions” is an umbrella term for the wide range of physical and mental health consequences experienced by some patients that are present four or more weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection, including by patients who had initial mild or asymptomatic acute infection.
- Based on current information, many post-COVID conditions can be managed by primary care providers, with the incorporation of patient-centered approaches to optimize the quality of life and function in affected patients.
- Objective laboratory or imaging findings should not be used as the only measure or assessment of a patient’s well-being; lack of laboratory or imaging abnormalities does not invalidate the existence, severity, or importance of a patient’s symptoms or conditions.
- Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to set achievable goals through shared decision-making and to approach treatment by focusing on specific symptoms (e.g., headache) or conditions (e.g., dysautonomia); a comprehensive management plan focusing on improving physical, mental, and social wellbeing may be helpful for some patients.
- Understanding of post-COVID conditions remains incomplete and guidance for healthcare professionals will likely change over time as the evidence evolves.