One-third of Covid-19 outpatients have lingering Covid-19 symptoms that last up to 9 months

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 22, 2021

A new study suggests that up to a third of Covid-19 outpatients have lingering Covid-19 symptoms that can last up to nine months.

The study, published in the journal JAMA, followed up on 177 patients between three and nine months after the onset of Covid-19, with an average age of 48 years.

The researchers found that the most common chronic symptoms in patients were fatigue (24/177 patients) and loss of smell or taste (24/177 patients). Four patients (2.3 per cent) also reported brain fog, among 23 patients (13 per cent) reporting other symptoms.

Among patients surveyed, hypertension was the most common underlying chronic condition. Overall, 49 of 150 outpatients (32 per cent), and 5 of 16 hospitalised patients (31 per cent) reported at least 1 persistent symptom. The study found that of 31 patients with hypertension or diabetes, 11 (35 per cent) experienced ongoing symptoms.

Also read: 50% of Covid-19 hospitalised patients are at high risk of heart damage:Study

“This small study shows that in certain individuals a long tail of symptoms post Covid-19 can occur,” said Amesh Adalja, MD, an Infectious Disease physician and Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

“The key is untangling the cause, the risk factors, and determining whether all these patients are alike or represent different disease processes. For example, loss of taste and smell is different in kind than an ADL (activities of daily life)-limiting symptom,” Adalja noted.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most commonly reported long-term symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, cough, joint pain, and chest pain.

Other reported long-term symptoms include brain fog, depression, muscle pain, headache, intermittent fever, and heart palpitations.

Published on February 22, 2021

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