‘This is a very strange virus. There’s not an organ in the body it saves’
Co Kildare GP describes wider long-term effects of Covid-19
Dr Adrian McGoldrick (67) tested positive for the virus in May. Photograph: Glen Murphy
A Co Kildare GP has described the “profound fatigue” he suffered following his Covid-19 diagnosis and the virus’s wider long-term effects.
Dr Adrian McGoldrick (67) tested positive for the virus in May – despite showing no symptoms – after three of his patients in a nursing home also tested positive.
“I literally couldn’t get out of bed one morning,” Dr McGoldrick said. “For a month, I couldn’t get out of bed.
“My brother rang me from Canada and I actually fell asleep holding the phone and dropped it. I hadn’t the energy to ring him back when I woke up. I normally [would have] worked 16 hours a day no problem.”
Dr McGoldrick underwent a number of blood tests and scans before having a cardiac MRI scan. He was subsequently diagnosed with myocarditis.
“Unfortunately, cardiac MRIs are not readily accessible but I was fortunate to have insurance so I could get one and it showed that I had myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart.”
With all other test results coming back clear, his cardiologist informed him that Covid-19 was the probable cause.
“This is a very strange virus. There’s not an organ in the body it saves,” Mr McGoldrick said. “The cardiac side effects are quite significant.”
Recent studies in the US, UK and Germany have shown the long-term effects Covid-19 can have on the body, in particular the heart.
“A recent paper has come out in Germany linking sick patients with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic Covid, who appear to have recovered, two to three months down the line developing heart problems. A study in Germany with a group of 100 people with a mean age of 45 showed 60 per cent of them had myocarditis.”
A survey by the British Medical Journal of 3,700 GPs earlier in August showed about a third had reported they had treated or seen patients with symptoms they believed to be long-term effects of having had Covid-19. The symptoms included chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of sense of smell and concentration difficulties.
Dr McGoldrick has been working remotely to aid his recovery from myocarditis. The only effective treatment is complete rest and he now spends up to 12 hours of his day in bed.
“This fatigue element of post-Covid is certainly coming out as a major long-term problem,” Dr McGoldrick said. “Treat this virus with respect . . . Don’t think that you can get the virus and that you will not suffer. This is going to be with us for years to come.”