ESCMID rapid guidelines for assessment and management of long COVID

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2022 Jul;28(7):955-972. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2022.02.018. Epub 2022 Feb 17.


Scope: The aim of these guidelines is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the assessment and management of individuals with persistent symptoms after acute COVID-19 infection and to provide a definition for this entity, termed 'long COVID'.

Methods: We performed a search of the literature on studies addressing epidemiology, symptoms, assessment, and treatment of long COVID. The recommendations were grouped by these headings and by organ systems for assessment and treatment. An expert opinion definition of long COVID is provided. Symptoms were reviewed by a search of the available literature. For assessment recommendations, we aimed to perform a diagnostic meta-analysis, but no studies provided relevant results. For treatment recommendations we performed a systematic review of the literature in accordance with the PRISMA statement. We aimed to evaluate patient-related outcomes, including quality of life, return to baseline physical activity, and return to work. Quality assessment of studies included in the systematic review is provided according to study design.

Recommendations: Evidence was insufficient to provide any recommendation other than conditional guidance. The panel recommends considering routine blood tests, chest imaging, and pulmonary functions tests for patients with persistent respiratory symptoms at 3 months. Other tests should be performed mainly to exclude other conditions according to symptoms. For management, no evidence-based recommendations could be provided. Physical and respiratory rehabilitation should be considered. On the basis of limited evidence, the panel suggests designing high-quality prospective clinical studies/trials, including a control group, to further evaluate the assessment and management of individuals with persistent symptoms of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Guidelines; Long-COVID; Management; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Practice Guideline
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Return to Work