Long covid medical personnel US Wisconsin
Illustrative file image Image Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: A long COVID patient's legs turned blue after just 10 minutes of standing and according to Indian-origin researcher Dr Manoj Sivan, there is an urgent need for greater awareness of this symptom among people with the coronavirus condition.

New research, published in the Lancet and authored by Sivan at the University of Leeds in the UK, focuses on the case of one 33-year man who developed acrocyanosis -- venous pooling of blood in the legs.

A minute after standing, the patient's legs began to redden and became increasingly blue over time, with veins becoming more prominent.

After 10 minutes the colour was much more pronounced, with the patient describing a heavy, itchy sensation in his legs. His original colour returned two minutes after he returned to a non-standing position.

The patient said he had started to experience discolouration since his Covid-19 infection.

He was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes an abnormal increase in heart rate on standing.

"This was a striking case of acrocyanosis in a patient who had not experienced it before his COVID-19 infection,” said Dr Sivan, Associate Clinical Professor and Honorary Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine.

"Patients experiencing this may not be aware that it can be a symptom of Long Covid and dysautonomia and may feel concerned about what they are seeing. Similarly, clinicians may not be aware of the link between acrocyanosis and Long Covid,” he added.

Long COVID affects multiple systems in the body and has an array of symptoms, affecting patients’ ability to perform daily activities.

The condition also affects the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating blood pressure and heart rate.

Previous research by Sivan's team has shown that both dysautonomia and POTS frequently develop in people with Long COVID .

“We need more awareness about dysautonomia in long term conditions, more effective assessment and management approaches, and further research into the syndrome. This will enable both patients and clinicians to better manage these conditions,” said Dr Sivan.