June 27, 2022

Half of Covid patients suffer consequences that can last more than a year

Posted on 05/11/2022 14:27

(Credit: Marcelo Casal Jr./Brazil Agency)

A study by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Minas revealed that half of people diagnosed with covid-19 experience sequelae that can last for more than a year. Researchers at the institution identified 23 post-acute symptoms. The complaints that patients report are extreme tiredness, insomnia, and difficulty performing routine activities.

The results of the survey were published in the magazine Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The study followed 646 patients who became infected in 2020 and 2021 for 14 months, and found that 324 (50.2%) of them developed post-infection symptoms, describing what the World Health Organization classifies as a long-term coronavirus.

Fatigue characterized by extreme tiredness and difficulty in performing routine activities was reported by 115 subjects, or 35.6% of the patients followed up. Other reported complications included persistent cough (34%), difficulty breathing (26.5%), loss of smell or taste (20.1%), frequent headaches (17.3%) and thrombosis (6.2%). Disorders such as insomnia, reported by 8% of patients followed, anxiety (7.1%) and dizziness (5.6%) were also noted.


According to researcher Raffaella Fortini, the study coordinator, they all reported onset of symptoms after acute infection. Many symptoms persisted within 14 months, with some exceptions, such as thrombosis, from which patients recovered within five months, as they were treated properly through appropriate medical interventions.

The research found that the presence of seven comorbidities, such as chronic arterial hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and smoking or alcoholism, led to a more severe injury and increased the chance of developing sequelae.

Consequences are seen in patients with mild or asymptomatic to severe forms of COVID-19. In the severe case, out of a total of 260 patients, 86 patients, or 33.1%, had permanent symptoms. Of the 57 patients diagnosed with the mild form of the disease, 43, or 75.4%, had sequelae, and among the 329 patients with the mild form, 198 (59.3%) developed symptoms months after the end of the acute infection.

Rafaella Fortini points out that it is important to seek health services for the long-term treatment of coronavirus, even in the case of milder sequences, which can also interfere with quality of life.

The research followed up on patients treated in the emergency room of Hospital da Palia and Hospital Metropolitano Dr. Celio de Castro, both references to the covid-19 virus in Belo Horizonte. Patients sought care between April 2020 and March 2021.

They have all been tested and tested positive for the disease. Of the 646 patients who were followed up, only five were vaccinated, and of those, three contracted the COVID-19 virus. The ages of the participants ranged from 18 to 91 years. 53.9% were female.

Residual symptoms and consequences were monitored through interviews conducted once a month, in person, or through a virtual platform, within 14 months after confirmatory diagnosis, between March 2020 and November 2021.