COVID-19 research briefs: Symptoms persist for at least 60 days for one-third of hospitalized patients

Daily POEMs

Published: 2020-12-27 © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Clinical question
How long do symptoms persist in patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19?

Bottom line
This study provides further evidence of the long-term persistence of COVID-19 symptoms. Approximately 30% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection will have persistent symptoms for at least 60 days. (LOE = 2c)

Reference
Chopra V, Flanders SA, O'Malley M, Malani AN, Prescott HC. Sixty-day outcomes among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Ann Intern Med. Published online November 11, 2020. doi: 10.7326/M20-5661.

Study design: Cohort (retrospective)

Setting: Population-based

Synopsis
Research Brief #75: Many patients with symptomatic COVID-19 infection have persistent symptoms after the acute illness. We previously summarized a study from France, in which 60% of 150 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection had persistent symptoms 30 days after illness onset, and 30% had persistent symptoms 60 days after onset of the illness. The symptoms were mainly fatigue, shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell (https://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/content/poem/221121) This larger observational study gives the outcomes of 1,648 patients with COVID-19 discharge from 38 Michigan hospitals between 16 March and 1 July 2020. Within 60 days of discharge, of the 1,250 (76%) patients who survived hospitalization, an additional 84 died and 189 patients were re-hospitalized. Of the patients alive 60 days after discharge, 488 (42%) were successfully contacted and completed a post-discharge telephone survey. Cardiopulmonary symptoms (such as cough and dyspnea) were reported by 159 (33%) patients, and 65 (13%) patients had persistent loss of taste or smell. This study from Michigan hospitals confirms that roughly 30% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection will have persistent symptoms for at least 2 months. A limitation of this study is that less than 50% of discharge patients were included in the study, which could lead to over- or under-estimation of the frequency of persistent symptoms

John Hickner, MD, MS
Professor Emeritus
Dept of Family Medicine
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Copyright © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.