In a new study from Mayo Clinic, researchers found people diagnosed with the post-COVID-19 syndrome, also known as “COVID-19 long-haul syndrome”, experience symptoms such as mood disorders, fatigue, and perceived cognitive impairment.
The syndrome can negatively affect returning to work and resuming normal activities.
In the study, the team examined 100 COVID-19 patients, who were evaluated and treated between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. They had a mean age of 45, and 68% were female. They were tested 93 days after infection.
The most common symptom of patients seeking evaluation for the post-COVID-19 syndrome was fatigue.
Of the patients in the study, 80% reported unusual fatigue, while 59% had respiratory complaints and a similar percentage had brain complaints.
More than one-third of patients reported difficulties performing basic activities of daily living, and only 1 in 3 patients had returned to unrestricted work activity.
Most patients in the study had no preexisting comorbidities prior to COVID-19 infection, and many did not experience symptoms related to COVID-19 that were severe enough to require hospitalization.
Most of the patients had normal lab and imaging results, despite having debilitating symptoms.
Nonetheless, the symptoms often resulted in strong negative effects as patients tried to return to normal daily activities, including work.
Most patients required physical therapy, occupational therapy or brain rehabilitation to address the perceived cognitive impairment.
While many patients had fatigue, more than half also reported troubles with thinking, commonly known as ‘brain fog.’
And more than one-third of patients had trouble with basic activities of life. Many could not resume their normal work life for at least several months.
Mayo Clinic developed the COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester in June 2020 to care for patients experiencing persistent symptoms after COVID-19 infection.
The team says as the pandemic continues, they expect to see more patients who experience symptoms long after infection, and health care providers need to prepare for this, know what to look for, and know how to best provide for their patients’ needs.
If you care about long COVID-19 symptoms, please read studies about this heart failure drug may treat COVID-19 long-hauler symptom and findings of how many people get ‘long COVID’ – and who is most at risk?
The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. One author of the study is Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D.