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