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Persistent symptoms among post-COVID-19 survivors: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Clin Nurs. 2022 Nov 25. doi: 10.1111/jocn.16471. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Single studies support the presence of several post-COVID-19 symptoms; however, there is no evidence for the synthesis of symptoms.

OBJECTIVE: We attempt to provide an overview of the persistent symptoms that post-COVID-19 patients encounter, as well as the duration of these symptoms to help them plan their rehabilitation.

DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 16 studies involving 8756 patients post-COVID-19 were included.

METHODS: The CINAHL, PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched from 2019 to August 2021. Observational studies that reported data on post-COVID-19 symptoms were included. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal for Observational Studies. We included medium- to high-quality studies. We used a random-effects model for the meta-analytical pooled prevalence of each post-COVID-19 symptom, and I2 statistics for heterogeneity.

RESULTS: From the 2481 studies identified, 16 met the inclusion criteria. The sample included 7623 hospitalised and 1133 non-hospitalised patients. We found the most prevalent symptoms were fatigue and dyspnea with a pooled prevalence ranging from 42% (27%-58%). Other post-COVID-19 symptoms included sleep disturbance 28% (14%-45%), cough 25% (10%-44%), anosmia/ageusia 24% (7%-47%), fever 21% (4%-47%), myalgia 17% (2%-41%), chest pain 11% (5%-20%), and headache 9% (2%-20%). In addition to physical symptoms, anxiety/depression was also prevalent 27% (8%-53%).

CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue and dyspnea were the most prevalent post-COVID-19 symptoms and experienced up to 12 months.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Multiple persistent symptoms are still experienced until 12 months of post-Covid 19. This meta-analysis should provide some awareness to nurses to highlights the unmet healthcare needs of post-COVID-19 patients. Long-term monitoring for the evaluation and treatment of symptoms and conditions and rehabilitation programs should be conducted.

PMID:36426658 | DOI:10.1111/jocn.16471

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