Post COVID-19 sequelae are a constellation of symptoms often reported after recovering from COVID-19. There is a need to better understand the clinical spectrum and long-term course of this clinical entity. The aim of this study is to describe the clinical features and risk factors of post COVID-19 sequelae in the North Indian population. This prospective observational study was conducted at a tertiary healthcare centre in Northern India between October 2020 and February 2021. Patients aged >18 years with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were recruited after at least two weeks of diagnosis, and details were captured. A total of 1234 patients were recruited and followed up for a median duration of 91 days (IQR: 45-181 days). Among them, 495 (40.1%) had persistent symptoms post-discharge or recovery. In 223 (18.1%) patients, the symptoms resolved within four weeks; 150 (12.1%) patients had symptoms till 12 weeks, and 122 (9.9%) patients had symptoms beyond 12 weeks of diagnosis/symptom-onset of COVID-19. Most common symptoms included myalgia (10.9%), fatigue (5.5%), shortness of breath (6.1%), cough (2.1%), insomnia (1.4%), mood disturbances (0.48%) and anxiety (0.6%). Patients who were hospitalized were more likely to report fatigue as a feature of long COVID. Hypothyroidism (OR: 4.13, 95% CI: 2.2-7.6, p-value < 0.001) and hypoxia (SpO2 ≤ 93%) (OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.1-2.4, p-value 0.012) were identified as risk factors for long COVID sequelae. In conclusion, long COVID symptoms were common (22%), and 9.9% had the post COVID-19 syndrome. Myalgias, fatigue and dyspnoea were common symptoms. Patients with hypothyroidism and hypoxia during acute illness were at higher risk of long COVID.
Keywords: COVID-19; long COVID; post COVID-19 sequelae; post COVID-19 syndrome.