London: A year after having COVID-19, only around one in four hospitalised patients feel fully recovered, according to a UK study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal which found that the disease affects women worse than men. The team led by researchers at the University of Leicester, UK, found that being female versus being male, having obesity and having had mechanical ventilation in hospital were all associated with a lower probability of feeling fully recovered at one year.
The most common ongoing long-COVID symptoms were fatigue, muscle pain, physically slowing down, poor sleep, and breathlessness.
The limited recovery from 5 months to 1 year after hospitalisation in our study across symptoms, mental health, exercise capacity, organ impairment, and quality-of-life is striking. In our clusters, female sex and obesity were also associated with more severe ongoing health impairments including reduced exercise performance and health-related quality of life at 1 year, potentially highlighting a group that might need higher intensity interventions such as supervised rehabilitation, said Rachael Evans, from the University of Leicester.
The study used data from the post-hospitalisation COVID-19 (PHOSP-COVID) study which assessed adults aged 18 years and over who had been hospitalised with COVID-19 across the UK and subsequently discharged.
Patients from 39 UK National Health Service (NHS) hospitals were included, who agreed to five-month and 1-year follow-up assessments in addition to their clinical care.
Recovery was assessed using patient-reported outcome measures, physical performance, and organ function at 5 months and one year after hospital discharge.
The researchers also took samples of participants’ blood at the five month visit to analyse it for the presence of various inflammatory proteins. A total of 2,320 participants discharged from hospital between March 7, 2020, and April 18, 2021, were assessed at 5 months after discharge and 807 participants completed both the 5-month and 1-year visits at the time of analysis.
These 807 patients had a mean age of 59 years, 279 were women and 28 per cent received invasive mechanical ventilation, the researchers said.
The proportion of patients reporting full recovery was similar between 5 months and 1 year, they said. In an earlier study, the authors had identified four groups or ‘clusters’ of symptom severity at five months, which were confirmed by the new study at one year.
Of the 2,320 participants, 1,636 had sufficient data to allocate them to a cluster: 319 had very severe physical and mental health impairment, 493 had severe physical and mental health impairment,179 moderate physical health impairment with cognitive impairment, and 645 had mild mental and physical health impairment. Having obesity, reduced exercise capacity, a greater number of symptoms, and increased levels of the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein were associated with the more severe clusters, according to the researchers.
In both the very severe and the moderate with cognitive impairment clusters, levels of the inflammatory biomarker interleukin-6 (IL-6) were higher when compared with the mild cluster, they said. “Our study highlights an urgent need for health-care services to support this large and rapidly increasing patient population in whom a substantial burden of symptoms exist, including reduced exercise capacity and substantially decreased health-related quality of life one year after hospital discharge,” said Professor Christopher Brightling from the University of Leicester.
Without effective treatments, long COVID could become a highly prevalent new long-term condition. Our study also provides a rationale for investigating treatments for long COVID with a precision-medicine approach to target treatments to the individual patient’s profile to restore their health-related quality of life, Professor Brightling added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.[corona_data_new]