The article notes that “about half” of patients discharged from hospital “have at least one persistent symptom (the most common of which is fatigue or muscle weakness) and one in three still has shortness of breath” after twelve months. It was published on Friday in the British Lancet magazine.
These percentages are higher among patients with a severe form of COVID-19 who are admitted to intensive care units.
The study was based on a medical examination conducted on nearly 1,300 people who left a hospital in Wuhan between January and May 2020, the first city affected by the epidemic.
These data were compared with those collected six months after patients’ discharge. The researchers noted that “the proportion of patients with at least one symptom or outcome decreased from 68% after six months to 49% after twelve.”
In contrast, the proportion of patients with dyspnea (respiratory problems) “slightly increased” from 26% to 30%.
In addition, the group of patients who showed a decrease in pulmonary diffusion capacity did not improve during this period. The study warns of an increase in the number of patients with anxiety or depression from 23 to 26%.
The authors note that women are 43% more likely to experience persistent fatigue or muscle weakness, and twice as likely to experience anxiety or depression.
Despite these consequences, the study notes that 88% of patients who contracted COVID-19 who worked when they became infected were able to resume their jobs after one year.
This study, the first from a one-year perspective, joins other recent research urging health authorities to “prepare to support COVID-19 patients in the long term.”
“The persistent coronavirus is a major medical challenge,” warns The Lancet in an editorial published alongside the study.
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