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COVID-19 symptoms linger for months in majority of hospitalized patients, Stanford study finds

Sick person rests on a couch under a blanket.
May 26 2021
Faculty, Fellow, Research, Stanford

A wide variety of symptoms persisted in more than 70% of COVID-19 patients months after recovering from the initial phases of disease, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Most of the patients in the study — one of the largest reviews of scientific literature on the topic — had been hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Among the most common lingering symptoms were shortness of breath, fatigue and sleep disorders. In all, 84 different symptoms and clinical signs were reported, including loss of taste and smell, cognitive disorders such as loss of memory and difficulty concentrating, depression, anxiety, chest pain and fevers.

The findings raise concern about an immense public health burden if even a portion of these patients need continuing care, said Steven Goodman, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and a professor of epidemiology and population health and of medicine.

“If something on the order of 70% of those coming out of moderate to serious COVID-19 are showing persisting symptoms, that is a huge number,” Goodman said.

The study will publish May 26 in JAMA Network Open. Tahmina Nasserie, a graduate student in epidemiology, is the lead author.

Study lead author Tahmina Nasserie is a 2017 SGF.

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