Post-Acute COVID-19 Symptoms, a Potential Link with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A 6-Month Survey in a Mexican Cohort

Brain Sci. 2021 Jun 8;11(6):760. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11060760.


The aim of this study was to describe the clinical evolution during 6 months of follow-up of adults recovered from COVID-19. We tried to determine how many met the definition of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). A total of 130 patients (51.0 ± 14 years, 34.6% female) were enrolled. Symptoms were common, participants reported a median number of 9 (IQR 5-14) symptoms. Fatigue was the most common symptom (61/130; 46.9%). Patients with fatigue were older 53.9 ± 13.5 years compared with 48.5 ± 13.3 years in those without fatigue (p = 0.02) and had a longer length of hospital stay, 17 ± 14 days vs. 13 ± 10 days (p = 0.04). There was no difference in other comorbidities between patients with fatigue and those without it, and no association between COVID-19 severity and fatigue. After multivariate adjustment of all baseline clinical features, only age 40 to 50 years old was positively associated with fatigue, OR 2.5 (95% CI 1.05-6.05) p = 0.03. In our survey, only 17 (13%) patients met the Institute of Medicine's criteria for "systemic exertion intolerance disease," the new name of ME/CFS. In conclusion, in some patients, the features of post-acute COVID-19 syndrome overlap with the clinical features of ME/CFS.

Keywords: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; fatigue; symptoms of COVID-19.