COVID-19 may have long-term complications and increased long-term costs on the healthcare system

As many COVID-19 patients may experience long-term complications from the illness such as intensive care unit (ICU) delirium, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lung damage, heart damage and possible neurological issues, GlobalData expects the market for these treatments to increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic as recovered patients may need long-term care for these issues after being released from the intensive care unit and the hospital.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Severe COVID-19 patients may develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to the cytokine storm, which can lead to long-term lung damage and fibrosis. The impaired lung function during COVID-19 may also affect other organs such as the heart, kidneys and brain. GlobalData thinks that treatments for lung damage similar to COPD will probably see an increase due to COVID-19 patients.”

Patients requiring ICU treatment may be at increased risk for developing mental health issues such as ICU delirium, PTSD, anxiety and depression. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to increase stress and anxiety, and patients may suffer fear of infection and experience uncertainty about how the outbreak will affect them both socially and economically. As this is a global pandemic, the psychological effects will be worldwide. GlobalData thinks that public health agencies will need to continue to address and treat these issues long after the pandemic is under control, which will increase long term care costs.”

Swanson continues: “As the number of severe COVID-19 patients requiring longer ICU stays and ventilation grows, an estimated 70–80% of these ventilated patients will experience ICU delirium, which causes patients to enter into a confused state and can lead to long-term cognitive impairments and memory deficits. Pharmacological treatments for ICU delirium may see an increase in administration due to these COVID-19 patients.”

The COVID-19 pandemic may cause even higher prevalence of these long-term effects especially in the severely affected areas. These issues may have a higher prevalence in areas with a high risk of infection population and where a major disruption to people’s daily lives occurred due to pandemic response. These effects will be seen around the world for this global pandemic.

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