Friday, 27 November 2020

Covid-19 patients with persistent symptoms who recover at home are MORE likely to have health problems three months later than those who were treated in ICU, study finds

 Coronavirus patients with persistent but mild symptoms who are left to recover at home more likely to be suffering with bad health three months later than those with more serious conditions who were treated in hospital, a study has found. 

Researchers at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands assessed 124 patients several weeks after recovery.

Patients were compared based on disease severity, the condition of their lungs and general health. 


In total, 27 patients developed mild symptoms, 51 had moderate cases, 26 were classed as 'severe' and 20 were deemed 'critical'. 

In the majority of all patients the lungs recovered well, but the impact on other aspects of their health was more significant for people with mild and drawn out cases, who had mostly been left to recover at home. 

The most common long-term issues were fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pains.   

In the majority of all coronavirus patients the lungs recovered well but the impact on other aspects of health was more significant for people with mild and drawn out cases (stock)

In the majority of all coronavirus patients the lungs recovered well but the impact on other aspects of health was more significant for people with mild and drawn out cases (stock)

Three months after infection, around 22 per cent of mild referred cases were still unable to complete a six-minute walking test, compared to just 16 per cent of critical cases. 

Meanwhile, more than one in five (22 per cent) mild cases suffered depression three months later, compared to one in ten (10 per cent) in patients deemed 'critical'. 

'Since we found no major radiological, lung functional, inflammatory or exercise capacity abnormalities in these referred mild disease patients after three months, explanations for their poor health status remain unclear at this point,' the researchers write in their study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. 

Researchers say this group of mild cases is not representative of all people with slight symptoms, but shows some coronavirus patients develop prolonged symptoms which have significant long-term implications.  


Coronavirus patients with persistent but mild symptoms that are left to recover at home are in overall worse health three months later than people with more serious conditions who were treated in hospital, a study shows (stock)

Coronavirus patients with persistent but mild symptoms that are left to recover at home are in overall worse health three months later than people with more serious conditions who were treated in hospital, a study shows (stock)


'It does seem that there is a clear subgroup of patients who initially experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms and later kept experiencing persistent long-term complaints and limitations', says first author of the research Bram van den Borst. 

'What is striking is that we barely found any anomalies in the lungs of these patients. 

'Considering the variety and seriousness of the complaints and the plausible size of this subgroup, there is an urgent need for further research into explanations and treatment options.' 

All Covid-19 patients discharged from the hospital were recruited for the study and patients suffering with symptoms for longer than six weeks were also referred to the assessment programme by their GP.  

Scans of the lungs revealed that in 99 per cent of all cases there were reduced ground-glass opacities - where air spaces in their lungs become filled with a substance, usually pus, blood or water.

Of people with mild disease, 93 per cent had chest x-rays which came back looking normal. 

However, more than a third (36 per cent) of patients had mental and cognitive issues three months later. 

But while the lungs themselves recovered within three months, more than two thirds (69 per cent) suffered with fatigue and 64 per cent of patients had some form of functional impairment. 

The researchers of the latest study did not link their study to the unexplained phenomenon of 'long covid', despite the similarity in long-lasting symptoms. 

More than 60,000 Britons are thought to be affected by long-lasting symptoms of Covid-19, including fatigue, breathlessness and pain.  

Data from the COVERSCAN study showed almost 70 per cent of volunteers had damage to one or more organs, including the heart and lungs, four months after first beating the infection.  

The COVERSCAN study is one of many studies examining the long-term damage inflicted by Covid-19 on major organs. It involves 500 survivors. 

Dr Amitava Banerjee, one of the researchers at University College London, said 25 per cent of patients had damage to two or more organs.  

The two-year study is being led by medical company Perspectum, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Mayo Clinic. 

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