Fatigue and breathlessness are among the most long-lasting symptoms in patients who have been hospitalised with coronavirus, research suggests.
Psychological distress is also a common long-lasting effect on Covid-19 survivors, according to new data from the University of Leeds.
Scientists examined 100 patients who had been in hospital with the virus – 68 who were on a ward and 32 who were treated in intensive care – four to eight weeks after their discharge.
Fatigue was the most commonly reported problem across the group, with more than 60% of those who were on wards suffering with it and 72% of those who were critically ill.
People in both groups also said they had experienced feelings of breathlessness which they had not suffered before contracting the virus.
This was higher in those who had been critically ill – 65.6% compared to 42.6%.
Nearly half of the intensive care group (46.9%) reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more than two-thirds believe their quality of life has deteriorated.
Writing in the paper, published in the Journal of Medical Virology, researchers said: “PTSD symptoms are a well-recognised component of post-intensive care unit syndrome caused by a variety of factors including fear of dying, invasive treatment, pain, delirium, inability to communicate, weakness, immobility, and sensory problems and sleep deprivation.”
Dr Manoj Sivan, associate clinical professor at the University of Leeds and a consultant in rehabilitation medicine at Leeds General Infirmary, said the research gives “an important insight into patient needs”.
He added: “Covid-19 is a new illness and we have very little information on longer-term problems in individuals after discharge from hospital.
“The emerging evidence is that for some, the road to recovery may take months and it is vital specialist rehabilitation is on hand to support them.”
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