The first study of its kind has revealed that only one in four people admitted to Covid Hospital feels fully recovered a year after discharge.
The feeling of complete recovery from the disease is lower in women (32% less likely), obese (50% less likely), and those who had to use mechanical ventilation during hospitalization (58%).
The data come from a large post-hospital study of Covid (PHOSP-Covid, in English) conducted in the UK and published last Saturday (23) in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The results of the study were also presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, to be held in Lisbon (Portugal) on 23-26 March. April.
The research is led by Christopher Brightling, Rachel Evans and Louis Wain, professors from the Center for Biomedical Research at the National Institute of Health at the University of Leicester.
The study followed 2,320 patients who discharged from hospital after coronavirus infection between 7 March 2020 and 18 April 2021. The first assessment was made five months after discharge from the hospital, while the second was performed one year after discharge from hospital.
At the time of reporting, 807 participants (33%) had completed a one-year follow-up period. The investigation is still ongoing.
For these patients, researchers were able to see that a quarter of them (205, or 25.4%) had fully recovered one year after discharge from hospital. The recovery assessment consisted of patient reports combined with an analysis of physical performance and vital signs.
The researchers also took blood samples to assess the presence of inflammatory proteins – some studies have already shown that the presence of antibodies or inflammatory markers in the body itself may be linked to long-term Covid disease.
According to estimates, the most persistent symptoms after one year of discharge from hospital were fatigue (60.1%), muscle pain (54.6%), immobility (52.9%), sleep disturbances (52.3%), dyspnea (51.4%), mental disorders (46.7%), body aches (46.6%) and memory loss (44.6%). Swelling (47.6%) and weakness (41.9%) of the limbs were also reported, but were lower than in the five-month assessment (49.1% and 47.6%, respectively).
According to the study, the proportion of patients who recovered completely did not change significantly between the first, five-month (25.5%) and second-year (28.9%) assessments.
In an attempt to elucidate the mechanisms underlying long-term Covid, the authors divided patients into four groups according to the severity of Covid sequelae: the first group had a very severe physical and mental disability (319 patients, or 20%); another, severe physical and mental disability (493 or 11%); third, moderate physical disability with cognitive impairment (179 or 11%); and a fourth, mild physical and mental disability (645 or 39%).
Compared with the moderately disabled group, the proportion of women and obese patients with very severe physical and mental disabilities was higher, suggesting both factors that predict that recovery will not be complete after one year.
“In our analysis, these two factors [obesidade e sexo feminino] were also associated with more severe persistent deterioration in health, including poor exercise performance and poor quality of life after one year, highlighting that these groups may need longer-term interventions such as rehabilitation.
According to the authors, the lack of specific therapies for the treatment of the effects of long-term Covid disease or for the treatment of sequelae suggests that there is a need for better integration of physical and mental care.
“The severity and endangerment of Covid-19’s physical and mental health underscores the need for close integration between physical and mental health care, including assessments and interventions, but also for better service exchange of information between health care professionals,” they say. .
“Our research highlights the urgent need for health services to support this large and growing group of patients who experience significant symptoms of repatriation after one year, including deterioration in motor skills and quality of life. Without effective treatments, Covid virus can become a long-term illness. society “, they decide.