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Postacute COVID-19 Syndrome May Affect Physical, Cognitive Function

Increased levels of fatigue and dyspnea, decreased levels of physical activity reported; 63 percent showed at least mild cognitive impairment

TUESDAY, Nov. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Persistent symptoms associated with postacute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS) may impact physical and cognitive function as well as quality of life, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Laura Tabacof, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues describe persistent symptoms associated with PACS and the impact of these symptoms. Data were obtained from 156 patients (all prevaccination) who completed surveys containing patient-reported outcomes at a median of 351 days post-COVID-19 infection.

The researchers found that fatigue, brain fog, and headache were the most common persistent symptoms (82, 67, and 60 percent, respectively). Physical exertion, stress, and dehydration were the most common triggers of symptom exacerbation (86, 69, and 49 percent, respectively). Levels of fatigue and dyspnea were increased, and there was a decrease in regularly completed physical activity. Sixty-three percent of patients scored for at least mild cognitive impairment; Self-care, Anxiety/Depression, and Usual Activities was the domain of the EQ-5D-5L that was most impacted.

“This study is a concerning reminder of how severely debilitating PACS symptoms are, the toll they take on health and wellness, and the fact that, without active treatment, these symptoms appear to persist indefinitely,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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