A follow-up survey found that more than half of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in China still have at least one symptom two years after hospitalization.
The longest follow-up study to date, published in The Lancet, followed about 1,200 patients in Wuhan, China, who were hospitalized with the Covid-19 virus during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.
In general, physical and mental health improved over time, regardless of the initial severity of the disease. Nearly 90% of the participants were back to work after two years.
However, six months after the illness, nearly 70% of participants reported at least one long-term symptom of Covid-19. Two years after the infection, more than half of the participants still had at least one symptom.
“Our results indicate that for a certain proportion of Covid-19 survivors who have been hospitalized, even if the initial infection has cleared, it will take more than two years to fully recover from Covid-19”said lead author Bin Cao of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in China.
Symptoms of a long form of Covid-19 include fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and sleep disturbances for up to two years after the onset of the disease.
In addition, the study suggests that patients with Covid-19 still have poorer health and quality of life than the general population, indicating that full recovery takes longer.
The study found that participants “had a worse quality of life and ability to exercise, more mental health problems and more frequent use of health care compared to people without symptoms of any form of Covid-19”we read in the press release of The Lancet.
Patients with Covid-19 reported joint pain, palpitations, dizziness and headaches more often than those who were not infected.
Mental health is also affected
When it comes to mental health, one in three Covid-19 patients reported pain or discomfort and anxiety or depression. These symptoms were observed four times more often in Covid-19 patients than in participants who did not have it.
This confirms the findings of another study, published in the journal The Lancet Public Health on March 15, that looked at the prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety, Covid-19-related distress and poor sleep quality in people with and without a diagnosis. from Covid-19.
This analysis, of nearly 250,000 people in Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the UK, found that Covid-19 disease severity was associated with mental health disorders up to 16 months after diagnosis. In addition, the researchers found that mental health pressures were lower in people who had never been infected than in people with mild symptoms.
Participants with long-term COVID-19 were also more likely to report problems with mobility or activity level and to use more health care after hospital discharge than those without a long-term form of Covid-19.
Because the longest follow-up studies to date lasted about a year, the long-term effects of Covid-19 remained largely unknown.
“Continued follow-up of Covid-19 survivors, particularly those with long-term Covid-19 symptoms, is essential to understand the long-term course of the disease, as well as further research into the benefits of rehabilitation programs for recovery »said Mr. Cao.
“There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who have had Covid-19 and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health”he concluded.