One in three people who overcome the coronavirus infection have at least one diagnosis of neurological or psychiatric problems in the six months after the illness, according to the largest study carried out so far that analyzed medical records of patients recovered from Covid-19.
Anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) are the most frequent diagnoses, according to the study published today in the specialized journal The Lancet Psychiatry, the AFP agency reported.
The incidence of neurological problems such as brain hemorrhages (0.6%), cerebrovascular accidents (2.1%), and dementia (0.7%) is globally lower, but the risk is generally higher among patients who were seriously ill. Covid-19 patients.
Paul Harrison (University of Oxford, UK), lead author of the study, said that although the risk at the individual level for most of these neurological and psychiatric problems is low, the effect can be “considerable” for health systems. due to the breadth of the pandemic.
Many of these problems are “chronic,” said Harrison, who advocated endowing health systems with resources to “meet the needs.”
When analyzing the electronic health records of 236,379 patients affected by coronavirus, the authors concluded that 34% had a diagnosis of neurological or psychiatric illness 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 grows in patients hospitalized for severe Covid-19: 46% of patients who were in resuscitation had neurological or psychiatric problems six months after being infected.
About 7% of those who were in resuscitation suffered a subsequent cardiovascular accident, 2.7% a cerebral hemorrhage and around 2% developed dementia, against 1.3%, 0.3% and 0.4% of those not hospitalized, respectively.
The researchers also crossed data from more than 100,000 patients who had a flu diagnosis and the more than 236,000 with a diagnosis of respiratory infections.
The risk of a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis is generally 44% higher after illness than after the flu, and 16% higher than after a respiratory infection.
“Unfortunately, many problems identified in this study tend to become chronic or recurrent, so we can anticipate that the impact of Covid-19 could last for many years,” wrote Dr. Jonathan Rogers of the University of London (UCL) in a comment published in the magazine.
The people studied were probably more severely affected than the general population, the authors assured in reference to those who do not go to consult due to mild or non-existent symptoms, which are a significant number.
Finally, the authors concluded that “this information could assist in service planning and identification of research priorities” and stated that “complementary study designs, including prospective cohorts, are needed to corroborate and explain these findings.”