Post-COVID-19 Syndrome: Nine Months after SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Cohort of 354 Patients: Data from the First Wave of COVID-19 in Nord Franche-Comté Hospital, France

Microorganisms. 2021 Aug 12;9(8):1719. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9081719.


(1) Background.&nbsp;Post-COVID-19 syndrome is defined as the persistence of symptoms after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. (2) Methods. ANOSVID is an observational retrospective study in Nord Franche-Comté Hospital in France that included adult COVID-19 patients confirmed by RT-PCR from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. The aim was to describe patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome with persistent symptoms (PS group) and to compare them with the patients without persistent symptoms (no-PS group). (3) Results. Of the 354 COVID-19 patients, 35.9% (n = 127) reported persistence of at least one symptom after a mean of 289.1 ± 24.5 days after symptom onset. Moreover, 115 patients reported a recurrence of symptoms after recovery, and only 12 patients reported continuous symptoms. The mean age of patients was 48.6 years (19-93) ± 19.4, and 81 patients (63.8%) were female. Patients in the PS group had a longer duration of symptoms of initial acute SARS-CoV-2 infection than patients in the no-PS group (respectively, 57.1 ± 82.1 days versus 29.7 ± 42.1 days, p < 0.001). A majority of patients (n = 104, 81.9%) reported three or more symptoms. The most prevalent persistent symptoms were loss of smell (74.0%, n = 94), fatigue (53.5%, n = 68), loss of taste (31.5%, n = 40), and dyspnea (30.7%, n = 39). These were followed by pain symptoms (26.8% (n = 34), 26.0% (n = 33), 24.4% (n = 31); headache, arthralgia, and myalgia, respectively). More than half of patients reporting persistent symptoms (58%, n = 73) were healthcare workers (HCWs). Among outpatients, this population was more present in the PS group than the no-PS group ((86.6%) n = 71/82 versus (72.2%) n = 109/151, p = 0.012). Post-COVID-19 syndrome was more frequent in patients with a past history of chronic rhinosinusitis (8.7% (n = 11%) versus 1.3% (n = 3), p < 0.001). No significant difference was found regarding clinical characteristics and outcome, laboratory, imaging findings, and treatment received in the two groups. (4) Conclusions. More than a third of our COVID-19 patients presented persistent symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly through loss of smell, loss of taste, fatigue, and dyspnea, with a high prevalence in HCWs among COVID-19 outpatients.

Keywords: dyspnea; fatigue; follow-up; health care workers; long COVID-19; post-COVID-19.