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Papers of the Week

2022 Sep 15

Eur J Pediatr

Prevalence and clinical presentation of long COVID in children: a systematic review.


Pellegrino R, Chiappini E, Licari A, Galli L, Marseglia G L
Eur J Pediatr. 2022 Sep 15.
PMID: 36107254.


A systematic literature review was conducted up to 15th February 2022 to summarize long COVID evidence and to assess prevalence and clinical presentation in children and adolescents. Articles reporting long COVID prevalence and symptoms based on original data in the paediatric population were included. Case series quality was assessed through the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist. For observational studies, adherence to STROBE checklist was evaluated. Twenty-two articles were included: 19 observational studies (12 cohort/7 cross-sectional) and 3 case series. Nine studies provided a control group. We found a high variability in terms of prevalence (1.6-70%). The most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue (2-87%), headache (3.5-80%), arthro-myalgias (5.4-66%), chest tightness or pain (1.4-51%), and dyspnoea (2-57.1%). Five studies reported limitations in daily function due to long COVID. Alterations at brain imaging were described in one study, transient electrocardiographic abnormalities were described in a minority of children, while most authors did not evidence long-term pulmonary sequelae. Older age, female sex, and previous long-term pathological conditions were more frequently associated with persistent symptoms.