Persistent symptoms, quality of life, and risk factors in long COVID: a cross-sectional study of hospitalized patients in Brazil

Int J Infect Dis. 2022 Sep;122:1044-1051. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2022.07.063. Epub 2022 Jul 28.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dysgeusia
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Humans
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2