Objectives: COVID-19 has been associated with long-term consequences to patient wellness and quality of life. Data on post-COVID-19 conditions are scarce in developing countries. This study aimed to investigate long COVID in a cohort of hospitalized patients in Brazil.
Methods: Surviving patients discharged from the hospital between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 were assessed between 2 and 12 months after acute onset of COVID-19. The outcomes were the prevalence of persistent symptoms, risk factors associated with long COVID, and quality of life as assessed by the EuroQol 5D-3L questionnaire.
Results: Of 439 participants, most (84%) reported at least one long COVID symptom, at a median of 138 days (interquartile range [IQR] 90-201) after disease onset. Fatigue (63.1%), dyspnea (53.7%), arthralgia (56.1%), and depression/anxiety (55.1%) were the most prevalent symptoms. In multivariate analysis, dysgeusia (odds ratio [OR] 2.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18-3.44, P <0.001) and intensive care unit (ICU) admission (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.19-6.56, P = 0.03) were independently associated with long COVID. Fifty percent of patients reported a worsened clinical condition and quality of life.
Conclusion: Long-term outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a low- to middle-income country were relevant. Fatigue was the most common persistent symptom. ICU admission was an independent factor associated with long COVID. Dysgeusia could be a potential predictor of long COVID.
Keywords: Brazil; COVID-19; Dysgeusia; Long COVID; Quality of life; Risk factors.
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