As researchers work to understand both the short- and long-term effects of the novel coronavirus, more than half of the participants in a recent study who recovered from COVID-19 are still experiencing disease-related “persistent fatigue.”
The study, conducted by Dr. Liam Townsend, from St. James’s Hospital and Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and others, found that fatigue was present in more than half of the patients studied “regardless of the severity of their infection,” according to a statement. print on results.
“Fatigue is a common symptom in those with a symptomatic COVID-19 infection. While the presenting characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been well characterized, the medium- and long-term consequences of the infection remain unexplored, ”Townsend said in a statement. In particular, concern has been raised that SARS-CoV-2 has the potential to cause persistent fatigue, even after infected people have recovered from COVID-19. “
The study involved 128 patients, all infected with COVID-19, but recovered; they were recruited more than two months after their illness.
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The researchers “investigated whether patients recovering from SARS-CoV-2 infection remained fatigued after their physical recovery and to see if there was a relationship between severe fatigue and a variety of clinical parameters,” he said. said Townsend. “We also looked into [the] persistence of disease markers beyond [the] clinical resolution of the infection. “
More specifically, the researchers used the Chalder Fatigue Score (CFQ-11), what the release calls “a commonly used scale for determining fatigue in recovered patients.” Additionally, the researchers also took into account the severity of the patient’s initial infection – whether they required hospitalization, for example – as well as any other pre-existing conditions they had that could contribute to fatigue, such as depression.
“They also looked at various markers of immune activation,” such as white blood cell counts and inflammatory blood markers, for example, but found none for release.
Almost 56% of patients considered hospitalization necessary, while 44.5% did not. Eventually, the researchers determined that more than half of the participants – 52.3 percent, to be exact – reported “persistent fatigue” even after they recovered from the disease.
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Furthermore, even patients who did not require hospitalization – meaning their illness was less severe – still reported lasting fatigue following the infection.
“Fatigue has been found to occur regardless of hospitalization, affecting both groups equally,” Townsend said.
“There was no association between the severity of COVID-19 (need for hospitalization, supplemental oxygen, or intensive care) and fatigue after COVID-19. Furthermore, there was no association between routine laboratory markers of inflammation and cell turnover … and post-COVID-19 fatigue, ”the statement said.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the women involved in the study – 54 percent were women – as well as those with a pre-existing diagnosis of depression or anxiety “were overrepresented in those with fatigue,” according to the findings.
More specifically, two thirds of the patients who reported persistent fatigue were women.
“And while only 1 in 61 (1.6%) people without fatigue had a history of anxiety or depression, this percentage was 13.4% (9/67) in those with persistent fatigue,” according to the release.
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“Our results demonstrate a significant burden of post-viral fatigue in individuals with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection after the acute phase of COVID-19 disease. This study highlights the importance of evaluating those recovering from COVID. -19 for symptoms of severe fatigue, regardless of [the] early disease severity and may identify a group worthy of further study and early interventions, “concluded the study authors, noting that their findings” also support the use of non-pharmacological interventions for fatigue management. “
“These interventions will need to be tailored to patients’ individual needs and may include lifestyle modifications, cognitive behavioral therapy and self-study exercises where tolerated,” they said.
The research, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, will be presented later this month in a virtual conference held by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.