The Long Battle with Long COVID


Experts Zijian Chen, MD, and David Putrino, PhD, tell you everything you need to know about long COVID: What it is, how to know if you have it, and what you can do.

[00:00:00] Stephen: From the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, this is Road To Resilience, a podcast about facing adversity. I'm Stephen Calabria. Today on the show we talk to two Mount Sinai physicians treating and studying the effects of long Covid. First, we talk to Dr. Zijian Chen, MD, the site director for the Division of Endocrinology at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital.

[00:00:25] In case you don't know what an endocrinologist is, they study and treat the endocrine system, which is responsible for the body's hormones. Dr. Chen was also a part of the team that established the Mount Sinai Center for Post-Covid Care. This is a first in the nation center established with the goal to care for and learn about patients post-exposure to Covid-19.

[00:00:45] To date, the center has seen more than 5,000 patients, and with more than 1, 500 patients currently enrolled in its research registry and studies. We're pleased to have Dr. Chen on the show.

[00:00:56] Dr. Chen, welcome to the program.

[00:00:58] Dr. Chen: Thank you.

[00:00:59] Stephen: Could you please introduce yourself to our listeners?

[00:01:02] Dr. Chen: Of course. My name is Zijian Chen. I'm a practicing physician at Mount Sinai Union Square. I am also an endocrinologist and our medical director for the post Covid Care Center.

[00:01:15] Stephen: Could you describe what is long Covid and what are the most common?

[00:01:20] Dr. Chen: Of course. So, long Covid as we look at it now is a set of symptoms that are either new or returning or ongoing due to a infection with Covid-19.

[00:01:33] What we see in patients with long Covid or post-Covid syndrome is that they have these symptoms for many weeks and months after their exposure to Covid-19. But in addition to that, these symptoms actually have a significant effect on their day-to-day.

[00:01:48] Stephen: Before we get further into the disease itself, I'm curious to know how your background as an endocrinologist equipped you to lead the unit.

[00:01:57] Dr. Chen: So it's interesting actually, because it's based on my background not as a endocrinologist, but as someone who was a medical director for the ambulatory practice at our department. During Covid-19, one of the many things that we had to do was adapt, and one of my roles was to manage the step-down unit for the tent outside our hospital.

[00:02:21] And one of the things that we did in the tent was to try and engage patients who were infected with Covid-19, and from there, discharge them from the hospital because they didn't meet criteria for admission. So, during that time we developed a way to track the patients so that they can self-report symptoms to us.

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