Firefighter and paramedic Mike Camilleri once had no trouble hauling heavy gear up ladders. Now battling long COVID, he gingerly steps onto a treadmill to learn how his heart handles a simple walk.“This is, like, not a tough-guy test so don’t fake it,” warned Beth Hughes, a physical therapist at Washington University in St. Louis.
Somehow, a mild case of COVID-19 set off a chain reaction that eventually left Camilleri with dangerous blood pressure spikes, a heartbeat that raced with slight exertion, and episodes of intense chest pain. Doctors were stumped until Camilleri found a Washington University cardiologist who’d treated patients with similar post-COVID heart trouble.“Finally a turn in the right direction,” said the 43-year-old Camilleri.
He started to see a little improvement –- only to have a recent reinfection knock him down again.