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Delhi: 11% of 990 patients surveyed had post-Covid symptoms 9-12 months after recovery, says study

The long-term study, conducted by Max Healthcare, looked at 990 patients who had been admitted to three of its hospitals in Delhi between April and August 2020 and telephonically followed up with them once in September 2020 and again in March 2021.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: July 8, 2021 6:57:51 pm
delhi covid news latestOf the 990, 62 patients, or 8% of the total, reported symptoms lasting between 1-3 months. (Express Photo)

A long-term study of 990 patients who were infected with Covid-19 in the early months of the pandemic found that 11% continued to have some form of symptoms for as long as 9-12 months from the onset of the disease, with fatigue being the most common amongst them.

The study, conducted by Max Healthcare, looked at 990 patients who had been admitted to three of its hospitals in Delhi between April and August 2020 and telephonically followed up with them once in September 2020 and again in March 2021.

While tracking long Covid in them, it found that 40% had experienced some form of long Covid, which covers both ongoing symptomatic phase (from 4 to 12 weeks following the onset of illness), and post-Covid-19 phase (symptoms that develop during or after Covid-19, and continue for more than 12 weeks, not explained by an alternative diagnosis).

Of the 990, 62 patients, or 8% of the total, reported symptoms lasting between 1-3 months. 118 or 15% had symptoms lasting 3-6 months, 43 or 5.5% had symptoms lasting 6-9 months, and 85 or 11% continued to have symptoms even in March 2021.

The study notes that all the patients with post-Covid reported only minor symptoms such as fatigue, myalgia, breathlessness, depression, and anxiety.

Of these, fatigue was the most common and was found to be reported more often in the elderly and those who had severe Covid illness at the time of admission. Breathlessness too was reported more frequently amongst those who had severe disease at the beginning.

“The study found no correlation between developing post-Covid symptoms and age, gender, comorbidities, or the severity of disease; however, duration of post-Covid symptoms had significant correlations to the disease severity at time of admission but not to age, gender and comorbidities,” said Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare.

Among all the respondents, 62.2% had mild illness, 22.9% had moderate, and 15.0% had severe Covid-19 illness at the time of admission.

A total of 331 of the 399 who had reported symptoms in the first follow up responded to the second follow up. The study also tells us how much time it took this set of patients to resume their daily routine — 214 (68.8%) reported that they were able to resume their daily routine within a month of discharge, 77 (24.8%) took 1 to 3 months, and 20 (6.4%) took 4 months or more.

“This entity of ‘Post-Covid Syndrome’ needs to be explored further. It is not fully known yet what kind of patients gets this affliction, how many days such symptoms persist and with what outcome. This may vary from area to area but highlights the need for long term follow-up by a multidisciplinary team including general practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and rehabilitation programs to improve the quality of life of these patients,” states the study.

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