Daily Dose: Top Factors that Predict Long COVID

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Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

On December 2, 2022, we reported on a study published in PLOS Global Public Health that was one of the largest studies on long COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

The study

Researchers aimed to characterize the burden and predictors for long COVID in a UK community and to create a statistical model that can guide health care service planning. The community-based cross-sectional study conducted in Norfolk, East England was part of the Protect Norfolk and Waveney post-COVID-19 syndrome Project, which included adults with COVID-19 infection confirmed via RT-PCR prior by December 6, 2020.

Of the 1487 respondents, 774 experienced post-COVID-19 syndrome symptoms. The incidence of symptoms in women was 55.9% and in men 46.0% (p<.01), suggesting that male sex vs female sex may be protective against long COVID. Among the full cohort, 25.4% reported use of health care services following their index COVID-19 infection, with 73.2% of these patients reporting post-COVID symptoms. BMI was associated with an increased risk of developing long COVID symptoms and also was a positive predictor of further use of health care services.

Clinical implications

"The results suggest females and increased BMI were associated with an increased risk of post-COVID-19 syndrome and further utilisation of health care, with increasing age showing a trend towards significance. The survey results provide valuable insights to help plan the local, national and international integrated referral pathway and assessment centres."

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