To better understand what could be causing their symptoms, the researchers performed tests to assess their breathing patterns during exercise and typical daily routines.
Participants were also asked to indicate patterns of fatigue over the preceding half year, as well as any joint stiffness, muscle aches, sleep and concentration problems, and exercise-related issues.
In total, 46% developed post-COVID chronic fatigue, the study found. And this is a worrying finding, Mancini said, as the initial COVID infection was not life-threatening or even as serious in many cases.
Her conclusion: “Basically anyone who has COVID is at risk.”
This concern is shared by dr. Colin Franz, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, who reviewed the findings.
While researchers are trying to define this problem, between 0.5% and 1% of non-hospitalized COVID patients develop at least one long-distance symptom, he said. “Given the large number of people COVID has had worldwide, it represents millions of people,” Franz said.
In fact, most people who develop long-term COVID issues have never been so sick with COVID itself, he added.
“As someone who sees several post-COVID patients a week with persistent concerns about shortness of breath, I am not surprised by these findings,” Franz said, “although I think there may be many of my colleagues who do not see many posts. -COVID long haulers. “
Franz said he was initially skeptical when he heard of persistent symptoms in patients whose COVID infection did not put them in the hospital.
“But my involvement with our post-COVID clinical rehabilitation program has convinced me that this is a very common problem,” he added.
The new findings were published in the December issue of JACC: Heart Failure.
There is more about long distance COVID at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Donna Mancini, MD, Professor, Medicine, Cardiology and Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Colin Franz, MD, PhD, Clinical Scientist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; JACC: Heart Failure, December 2021