This systematic review published in BMJ Global Health looks to identify the nature, frequency and causes of long-COVID symptoms by reviewing data from existing research studies into long-COVID. It aims to regularly synthesise evidence on long-COVID characteristics to help improve long-term outcomes.
From the data provided by 39 studies, the review found that:
- long-COVID affects both patients who were hospitalised and those managed in the community
- patients with long-COVID display a wide range of symptoms including weakness, general malaise, fatigue, concentration impairment and breathlessness
- research currently available on long-COVID is vulnerable to bias, so caution should be used when interpreting data.
The authors also identify areas where further research is needed to help define long-COVID symptoms, identify risk factors for different populations and assess the impact of variants of concern and vaccination on long-term outcomes.