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Determinants of persistence of symptoms and impact on physical and mental wellbeing in Long COVID: A prospective cohort study

Righi E, Mirandola M, Mazzaferri F, Dossi G, Razzaboni E, Zaffagnini A, Ivaldi F, Visentin A, Lambertenghi L, Arena C, Micheletto C, Gibellini D, Tacconelli E.

Journal of Infection Volume: Online ahead 2022 Feb

Residual symptoms can be detected for several months after COVID-19. To better understand the predictors and impact of symptom persistence we analyzed a prospective cohort of COVID-19 patients.

Methods: Patients were followed for 9 months after COVID-19 onset. Duration and predictors of persistence of symptoms, physical health and psychological distress were assessed.

Results: 465 patients (54% males, 51% hospitalized) were included; 37% presented with at least 4 symptoms and 42% complained of symptom lasting more than 28 days. At month 9, 20% of patients were still symptomatic, showing mainly fatigue (11%) and breathlessness (8%). Hospitalization and ICU stay vs. non-hospitalized status increased the median duration of fatigue of 8 weeks. Age > 50 years (OR 2.50), ICU stay (OR 2.35), and presentation with 4 or more symptoms (OR 2.04) were independent predictors of persistence of symptoms at month 9. A total of 18% of patients did not return to optimal pre-COVID physical health, while 19% showed psychological distress at month 9. Hospital admission (OR 2.28) and persistence of symptoms at day 28 (OR 2.21) and month 9 (OR 5.16) were independent predictors of suboptimal physical health, while female gender (OR 5.27) and persistence of symptoms at day 28 (OR 2.42) and month 9 (OR 2.48) were risk factors for psychological distress.

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