Covid-19: 76% of Hospitalized Patients Reported Symptoms 6 Months Later

Henrietta Brewer
January 13, 2021

The study, which monitored 1,733 patients discharged from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, is the largest and longest examination of COVID-19's long-term effects to date.

Fatigue or muscle weakness (63%) and sleep difficulties (26%) were the most common symptoms.

"Even though the study offers a comprehensive clinical picture of the aftermath of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients, only 4% were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), rendering the information about the long-term consequences in this particular cohort inconclusive", says a team from the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Italy - who was not involved in the study.

Many more researchers are now launching follow-up studies of people who have been infected with COVID-19.

Additionally, patients who averagely aged 57 years old were visited between the months of June and September last year. Moreover, 45% of respondent said they had to reduce their workload as a result of their disabling symptoms while 22.3% said they could not work at all.

According to the study, 41 per cent of the 390 patients tested for lung function experienced reduced lung function.

To characterise the gut microbiome, 41 of the COVID patients provided multiple stool samples while in hospital, 27 of whom provided serial stool samples up to 30 days after clearance of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.

Healthcare professionals are becoming increasingly concerned that the long-term effects experienced by those COVID-19 patients who were hospitalised, may be underestimated.

New research published on 9 January in The Lancet medical journal is among the few studies that have aimed to describe and better understand the long-term health consequences of Covid-19 and the associated risk factors.

Their work, he specified, underscores, too, the essentiality of "conducting follow-up research in larger populations" so they could understand the entire spectrum of the impacts that COVID-19 can have on people. For the study, patients were interviewed face to face to evaluate their post COVID symptoms and quality of life after the illness.

Along with common lung issues typical of coronavirus, the study discovered some patients developed kidney issues following their hospital stay.

Around 400 patients went through further tests, such as an assessment of their lung function and 94 patients whose antibody levels were recorded at the height of infection went through a follow-up test.

After observing blood and stool samples from 100 patients treated in two hospitals, the researchers found that the "gut microbiome composition was significantly altered in patients with COVID-19 compared with non-COVID-19 individuals irrespective of whether patients had received medication". Of the 822 patients who had normal kidney function when they entered the hospital, the study reveals 107 (13%) suffered from reduced organ function during their follow-up six months later.

When the said patients were tested again six months after their COVID-19 infection, authors said, their "levels of neutralizing antibodies were 52.5 percent".

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