An interesting preprint published by Badenoch and others in medRxiv posted 4 May evaluated this issue. 

They searched various databases and used their own curated database including peer reviewed studies reporting neuropsychiatric symptoms at post-acute or later time points after COVID-19 infections. 

From 2844 unique titles, they were able to include 51 studies, which included 18,917 patients.  The most frequent neuropsychiatric symptoms were:

  • Sleep disturbance at 27.4% 
  • Fatigue at 24.4% 
  • Objective cognitive impairment at 20.2% 
  • Anxiety at 19.1% 
  • Posttraumatic stress at 15.7%

Unfortunately, only two studies reported symptoms in control groups and both recorded higher frequencies in the COVID-19 survivors versus the controls. 

There was little or no evidence of any differential symptom prevalence based on hospitalisation status, severity, or follow-up duration. 

The authors concluded that neuropsychiatric symptoms following COVID-19 were common and persistent after recovery.  

Although the literature on long term consequences is still developing, their results indicated a particularly high frequency of insomnia, fatigue, cognitive impairment and anxiety disorders in the first six months following infection. 

LGP, the leading London doctors’ clinic, has developed a programme including a multidisciplinary approach to look after patients with long COVID.

Dr Paul Ettlinger
Founder, The London General Practice

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