People diagnosed with Post-Covid-19 Syndrome are frequently experiencing mood disorders and fatigue, a new study has found.
The most common symptom reported by the 100 patients participating in the Mayo Clinic Covid-19 Activity Rehabilitation program (CARP) was unusual fatigue, with 80 per cent of participants struggling with overwhelming tiredness and lack of energy.
A further 59 per cent reported respiratory complaints, with a similar number battling neurological issues.
"Most patients in the study had no pre-existing comorbidities prior to Covid-19 infection, and many did not experience symptoms related to Covid-19 that were severe enough to require hospitalisation," said Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic program and first author of the study. "Most of the patients had normal or nondiagnostic lab and imaging results, despite having debilitating symptoms. That's among the challenges of diagnosing PCS (Post-Covid-19 Syndrome) in a timely way and then responding effectively."
The patients - who were all enrolled into the program for treatment after experiencing persistent symptoms following a Covid-19 diagnosis - took part in the study between June and December 2020 and were each evaluated for around 93 days after first being infected with the virus.
The participants had a mean age of 45 and 68 per cent of them were female.
The study showed only one-third of the participants had returned to unrestricted work activity, while more than 30 per cent reported problems performing basic everyday tasks months after being infected with Covid-19.
"Most patients with whom we worked required physical therapy, occupational therapy or brain rehabilitation to address the perceived cognitive impairment," Dr Vanichkachorn said. "While many patients had fatigue, more than half also reported troubles with thinking, commonly known as 'brain fog.' And more than one-third of patients had trouble with basic activities of life. Many could not resume their normal work life for at least several months.
"As the pandemic continues, we expect to see more patients who experience symptoms long after infection, and health care providers need to prepare for this, know what to look for, and know how to best provide for their patients' needs."