New study reveals 75% of coronavirus patients still suffer symptoms three months later

Nurses in PPE pushing a patient in a bed in hospital.
Credit: PA images

Three quarters of coronavirus patients who were treated at Bristol's Southmead Hospital were still suffering from symptoms three months after they were discharged.

A new study carried out by researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust found that 81 out of 110 discharged patients were still experiencing symptoms when invited back for a check-up.

Symptoms included:

  • breathlessness

  • excessive tiredness

  • muscle aches

Many of them said their quality of life was poor, saying that carrying out simple tasks like washing, dressing or returning to work was a struggle.

The majority of patients also showed no evidence of lung scarring or reductions in lung function. Credit: PA images

Most of the patients did report improvements in their initial symptoms of fever, cough and loss of smell.

The majority also showed no evidence of lung scarring or reductions in lung function.

Andrea (left) is still suffering with symptoms five months on from leaving hospital. Credit: ITV West Country

Husband and wife Andrea and Dominique Dehant from Portishead were hospitalised at Southmead with coronavirus. They participated in the study.

Both of them suffered seriously with the virus and endured hospital stays of several weeks.

Five months after being discharged, Andrea is still suffering from ongoing symptoms.

Andrea said the problems are "every day things, that nobody thinks of". She said she struggles now to get the lids off jars, to lift things and walk up the stairs without feeling breathless.

She did, however, say both her and her husband's senses of smell and taste have returned.

Andrea hopes she will make a full recovery. Credit: ITV West Country

Dominique's symptoms are much less prevalent now. He told ITV West Country he still feels tired and has the occasional headache, but the long-term implications have effected his wife much more.

Andrea had to cut her hair short after returning home from hospital, after reporting that it breaks easily and feels dry. This, she said, was never a problem before almost losing her life to Covid-19.

The couple said they consider themselves "remarkably lucky" to have survived the virus.

Andrea said, "I'll take losing hair, being short of breath, to what it could have been."

The findings came as part of the preliminary results of the DISCOVER project, the first of its kind, into the longer-term effects of coronavirus.

It is hoped the findings will help give an insight into the challenges many patients face in their recovery.

Dr Rebecca Smith said, “We hope our findings can help patients and their GPs understand the course of post-COVID illness and the role of routine tests.”

The research is due to continue at Southmead Hospital, with researchers collaborating with the University of Bristol to look at the participant blood tests, rehabilitation therapies and psychological support.

You can find out how many coronavirus cases there are in your area using this interactive map.