COVID-19 can involve persistence, sequelae, and other medical complications that last weeks to months after initial recovery. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to identify studies assessing the long-term effects of COVID-19. LitCOVID and Embase were searched to identify articles with original data published before the 1st of January 2021, with a minimum of 100 patients. For effects reported in two or more studies, meta-analyses using a random-effects model were performed using the MetaXL software to estimate the pooled prevalence with 95% CI. PRISMA guidelines were followed. A total of 18,251 publications were identified, of which 15 met the inclusion criteria. The prevalence of 55 long-term effects was estimated, 21 meta-analyses were performed, and 47,910 patients were included (age 17-87 years). The included studies defined long-COVID as ranging from 14 to 110 days post-viral infection. It was estimated that 80% of the infected patients with SARS-CoV-2 developed one or more long-term symptoms. The five most common symptoms were fatigue (58%), headache (44%), attention disorder (27%), hair loss (25%), and dyspnea (24%). Multi-disciplinary teams are crucial to developing preventive measures, rehabilitation techniques, and clinical management strategies with whole-patient perspectives designed to address long COVID-19 care.
The risk-benefit ratio with the delta variant seems to trump the side effects.
Long COVID is a real concern, but it’s not clear how much this article helps deal with it.
This work is extremely useful to apply to patients who must receive controls after discharge, and to know how symptoms can evolve that are presented or begin to present later.