People hospitalized because of COVID-19 still experience at least one of the symptoms even after six months from contracting the virus.
It found that fatigue or muscle weakness were the most common symptoms, while people also reported sleeping difficulties.
In a Lancet commentary on the Chinese study, foreign scientists said it is rather surprising to find that some COVID-19 patients with good kidney health experienced lower than standard kidney function measured by the rate at which their kidneys are cleaning their blood, a key indicator of renal health. His team published the findings in The Lancet journal January 8.
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Professor Cao added, their research underscored the need for ongoing care for patients following discharge from hospital, specifically those who have suffered from severe infections.
The researchers only worked with patients that were hospitalized, as such, experts say, its findings might not apply to the general population of those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Aside from lingering symptoms, study authors discovered patients who had suffered from more severe COVID infections are more likely to now have impaired lung function. Of the 822 patients who had normal kidney function when they entered the hospital, the study reveals 107 (13%) suffered from reduced organ function during their follow-up six months later.
Doctors and healthcare professionals have warned that without a proper understanding of the long term effects, these could turn out to be a bigger public health problem than the deaths caused by the pandemic - deaths which were not simply the result of COVID-19 but also due to delayed diagnoses and interventions as a result of the emergency. "Although the constellation of earlier associated symptoms is fairly well described, little is known about long-term outcomes", said Dr. Thomas Gut, associate chair of medicine at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
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More than three-quarters of Covid-19 patients who required hospitalization had related health issues 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. "Our study shows that a large percentage of patients keep experiencing some of the symptoms of the disease months after they get discharged from the hospital". The discharged patients also went through some physical examinations, lab tests and a six-minute walking test to scale their tolerance levels.
Around 400 patients went through further tests, such as an assessment of their lung function and 94 patients whose antibody levels were recorded at the height of infection went through a follow-up test.
The team explained, longer-term multidisciplinary study now being conducted would help in improving the understanding and development of treatments to alleviate the long-term effects of COVID-19 "on multiple tissues and organs".
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