A group of general practitioners and scientists will receive additional funding from the Dutch Heart Foundation for COVID-19 research. The study, which is an extension of the DCVA COVID@HEART study, is focused on people who get COVID-19 but are not hospitalized. The aim of the project is to provide early appropriate home-based care when patients suddenly deteriorate. The research also provides more insight into possible damage to the heart after COVID-19 in this group of people.
The results are relevant to the large and growing group of people who experience a COVID-19 infection at home. General practitioner and researcher Geert-Jan Geersing (UMC Utrecht) is one of the research leaders. He explains: “A lot of COVID-19 research is about patients in hospitals. Of course, that is very important, but the largest group of COVID-19 patients is at home. We still know far too little about them.” The research team will provide pulse oximetry devices to 50 COVID-19 patients for use at home.
Early recognition of deterioration
The first part of the study is focused on early recognition of patients who suddenly deteriorate at home. Geert-Jan Geersing: “One of the problems is that people often do not realize that there is too little oxygen in their blood. Oxygen deficiency does not always cause complaints, but it is a sign of deterioration.” Geersing explains: “This is a first test. After this first test we want to expand the study. We hope that oxygen measurement ultimately ensures that people who deteriorate, receive the right treatment sooner. ”
More insight into heart damage after corona
The second part of the research should provide more insight into possible long-term consequences of COVID-19. The researchers will accurately image the hearts of 100 people who have recovered from COVID-19 at home using ultrasound and MRI. These people have already taken part in a large population study in the Rotterdam region, Geersing explains. “We have already examined the hearts of these people before COVID-19. In this way we can see what damage is caused by COVID-19 and what the characteristics are of people with the most severe heart damage. ”
The research is carried out by several scientists and universities, including Prof. Frans Rutten (UMC Utrecht), Dr Geert-Jan Geersing, Dr Thijs Eijsvogels (Radboudumc) and Dr Maryam Kavousi (Erasmus MC).