One in three patients who had COVID-19 suffers neurological sequelae, still half a year after infection with coronavirus | The World | DW

Anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) are the most frequent diagnoses, according to the study, published Wednesday in the specialized journal The Lancet Psychiatry. The incidence of neurological problems such as brain hemorrhages (0.6%), stroke (2.1%) and dementia (0.7%) is globally lower, but the risk is generally higher among patients than were seriously ill with COVID.

Although the risk at the individual level of most of these neurological and psychiatric problems is low, the effect can be “considerable” for health systems due to the breadth of the pandemic, says Professor Paul Harrison of the British University of Oxford, lead author of the study. Many of these problems are “chronic,” he argues, and advocates endowing health systems with resources to “meet needs.”

It is urgent to provide health systems with resources for the treatment of sequelae

When analyzing the electronic health records of 236,379 patients affected by COVID, the authors conclude that 34% had a diagnosis of neurological or psychiatric disease in the six months following the infection. For 13% of people, it was the first neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.

The risk of developing long-term problems, known as “long COVID” sequelae, has increased in patients hospitalized for severe COVID. Thus, 46% of the patients who were in resuscitation registered neurological or psychiatric problems six months after being infected. . About 7% of the patients who were in resuscitation had a subsequent cardiovascular accident, 2.7% a cerebral hemorrhage, and about 2% developed dementia, against respectively 1.3%, 0.3% and 0.4 % of those not hospitalized.

The researchers also crossed data from more than 100,000 patients who had a flu diagnosis and the more than 236,000 patients with a diagnosis of respiratory infections. The risk of a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis is overall 44% higher after COVID than after the flu, and 16% higher than after a respiratory infection.

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Illnesses can become chronic or recurrent

“Unfortunately, many problems identified in this study have a tendency to become chronic or recurrent, so we can anticipate that the impact of COVID-19 could last for many years,” writes Dr. Jonathan Rogers of the University of London (UCL) in a comment published in the magazine.

Probably, the people studied were more seriously affected than the general population, say the authors who speak, of those people, numerous, who do not go to consult due to mild or non-existent symptoms.

jov (afp, thelancet)

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