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UCI Health launches COVID-19 recovery program to address long-term effects

Post-COVID-19 syndrome services to be offered in Tustin and Costa Mesa 

April 08, 2021

UCI Health has launched an outpatient treatment program to address prolonged COVID-19 symptoms and complications experienced by an estimated 10% to 30% of people long after their initial illness. People with post-COVID-19 syndrome, who are also known as “long haulers,” continue to experience complications for months after their infection. 

The new UCI Health COVID Recovery Service at UCI Health outpatient offices in Tustin and Costa Mesa provides these patients with a comprehensive evaluation, referral to specialists, follow-up care and monitoring throughout the course of the patient’s recovery.

The most common chronic post-COVID-19 syndromes seen in adults include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, joint pain, chest pain, anxiety and depression. Some people, often those who had more severe cases of the disease, may experience persistent heart issues and lung damage.  

“Most people who have COVID-19 recover completely within a few weeks, but we are seeing a growing number of people who continue to experience lingering health effects,” said Long-Co Nguyen, MD, a UCI Health internist who will manage the post-COVID-19 syndrome services program. “As we continue to learn about the long-term effects of COVID-19, we will support patients with health services and case management to improve their health and well-being.”

Though COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that impacts the lungs, the coronavirus can affect many other organs, including the heart, brain and kidneys. The body's immune response to infection may also contribute to chronic COVID-19 symptoms. The services are designed to treat this multi-organ disease include a comprehensive initial evaluation by internal medicine physicians experienced in diagnosing a multisystem condition. 

To be eligible for post-COVID-19 syndrome services, you must be 18 years old or older, have had a confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses and experienced symptoms for more than four weeks. 

“UCI Health has been a leader in providing treatment for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and COVID-related conditions since the start of the pandemic,” said Alpesh N. Amin, MD, MBA, chair of the UCI Health Department of Medicine. “The expertise we bring to managing the long-term effects of this terrible disease will help Orange County and our entire community recover.”

To learn more about UCI Health COVID Recovery Services, please call 949-386-5101.

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 418-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, as well as behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.