COVID-19 symptoms can persist for months after hospital stay

Aug. 26, 2020

A research letter published in the Journal of Infection showed most patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 had symptoms—particularly fatigue and shortness of breath—for a mean of 111 days after returning home, according to a news report on the study from the Center for Infectious Disease Policy and Research (CIDRAP).

Researchers administered a phone questionnaire to 120 COVID-19 patients hospitalized from March 15 to April 14 at the University of Paris-affiliated Beaujon Hospital. Ninety-six patients had been treated in the general ward, while 24 required intensive care unit (ICU) care with artificial ventilation.

The most common persistent symptoms were fatigue (55 percent), shortness of breath (42 percent), memory loss (34 percent), lack of concentration (27 percent), and sleep disorders (31 percent). Twenty-four patients (20 percent) reported hair loss, 20 of whom were women. There was no statistically significant difference in symptoms between ward and ICU patients.

In both groups, slightly more ICU patients reported continued pain on health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) self-assessment EQ-5D-5L subtests, but there were no other differences. Mean EQ-5D score was 0.86, indicating relatively good QoL.

Mean score on the EQ-VAS was 70.3 percent, indicating good health. "This clearly supports the interest of a full resuscitation for COVID patients despite heaviness of cares," the authors wrote. Thirty-five patients (29 percent) had a Modified Medical Research Council Dyspnea Scale grade of 2 or higher, indicating that they walked slower than their peers because of shortness of breath or had to stop to catch their breath when walking at their own pace.

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