HealthDay News — About half of survivors of COVID-19 who have been hospitalized report symptoms that did not exist before their COVID-19 illness, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Luc Morin, MD, from Université Paris-Saclay, and colleagues conducted a prospective uncontrolled study involving survivors of COVID-19 who had been hospitalized between March 1 and May 29, 2020. At 4 months after discharge, 478 participants underwent a telephone evaluation, and respiratory, cognitive, and functional symptoms were assessed.
Via the telephone interview, the researchers found that 244 patients (51%) declared at least 1 symptom that did not exist before COVID-19, including fatigue, cognitive symptoms, and new-onset dyspnea in 31%, 21%, and 16%, respectively. One hundred seventy-seven patients (37%) underwent further examination. The median 20-item Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory score was 4.5 and 3.7 for reduced motivation and mental fatigue, respectively.
Sixty-three percent of the patients had computed tomographic lung-scan abnormalities, mainly subtle ground-glass opacities. Nineteen percent of the patients had fibrotic lesions; in all but 1 patient, the lesions involved less than 25% of parenchyma. Thirty-nine percent of survivors with acute respiratory distress syndrome had fibrotic lesions. Anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic symptoms were seen in 23%, 18%, and 7%, respectively, of 94 former intensive care unit patients.
“The cohort in this study revealed wide-ranging physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms at 4 months following hospitalization for COVID-19,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “Importantly, symptoms among participants in this study varied markedly.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.