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Papers of the Week

2022 Aug 11




Long-COVID Clinical Features and Risk Factors: A Retrospective Analysis of Patients from the STOP-COVID Registry of the PoLoCOV Study.


Chudzik M, Babicki M, Kapusta J, Kałuzińska-Kołat Ż, Kołat D, Jankowski P, Mastalerz-Migas A
Viruses. 2022 Aug 11; 14(8).
PMID: 36016376.


Despite recovering from the acute phase of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many patients report continuing symptoms that most commonly include fatigue, cough, neurologic problems, hair loss, headache, and musculoskeletal pain, a condition termed long-COVID syndrome. Neither its etiopathogenesis, nor its clinical presentation or risk factors are fully understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the most common symptoms of long-COVID among patients from the STOP COVID registry of the PoLoCOV study, and to search for risk factors for development of the syndrome. The registry includes patients who presented to the medical center for persistent clinical symptoms following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The analysis included data from initial presentation and at three-month follow-up. Of the 2218 patients, 1569 (70.7%) reported having at least one symptom classified as long-COVID syndrome three months after recovery from the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. The most common symptoms included chronic fatigue (35.6%), cough (23.0%), and a set of neurological symptoms referred to as brain fog (12.1%). Risk factors for developing long-COVID syndrome included female gender (odds ratio [OR]: 1.48, 95% confidence intervals [CI] [1.19-1.84]), severe COVID-19 (OR: 1.56, CI: 1.00-2.42), dyspnea (OR: 1.31, CI: 1.02-1.69), and chest pain (OR: 1.48, CI: 1.14-1.92). Long-COVID syndrome represents a significant clinical and social problem. The most common clinical manifestations are chronic fatigue, cough, and brain fog. Given the still-limited knowledge of long-COVID syndrome, further research and observation are needed to better understand the mechanisms and risk factors of the disease.