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Symptoms Persist in Many Discharged COVID-19 Patients

MONDAY, Jan. 11, 2021 -- COVID-19 survivors frequently experience fatigue or muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, and anxiety or depression at six months after acute infection, according to a study published online Jan. 8 in The Lancet.

Chaolin Huang, M.D., from Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, and colleagues conducted an ambidirectional cohort study of patients with confirmed COVID-19 who had been discharged between Jan. 7 and May 29, 2020. Patients were sampled according to their highest seven-category scale during their hospital stay as 3, 4, and 5 to 6. Data were included for 1,733 of 2,469 discharged patients with COVID-19, with a median age of 57.0 years.

The median follow-up time after symptom onset was 186.0 days. The researchers found that the most common symptoms at follow-up were fatigue or muscle weakness (63 percent) and sleep difficulties (26 percent). Twenty-three percent of patients reported anxiety or depression. Patients showed an odds ratio of 1.61 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.80 to 3.25) for scale 4 versus 3 and 4.60 (1.85 to 11.48) for scale 5 to 6 versus 3 for diffusion impairment; 0.88 (0.66 to 1.17) and 1.77 (1.05 to 2.97) for anxiety or depression, respectively; and 0.74 (0.58 to 0.96) and 2.69 (1.46 to 4.96) for fatigue or muscle weakness, respectively. The seropositivity and median titers of neutralizing antibodies were significantly lower among 94 patients tested at follow-up compared with the acute phase.

"These results support that those with severe disease need postdischarge care," the authors write.

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Posted: January 2021

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