Persistent respiratory symptoms and lung function abnormalities in recovered patients of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 which belongs to a family of coronaviruses. After the acute phase of illness, the majority of the patients recover quickly but, in some cases, symptoms can persist for a variable duration, bringing into light another entity known as post-COVID syndrome. The objective was to estimate the burden of various persistent respiratory symptoms and lung function abnormalities among recovered patients of COVID-19 and also to correlate them with initial disease severity, demographic factors and comorbidities. Eighty-five post-COVID patients were recruited as per inclusion/exclusion criteria. Detailed history taking, physical examination and spirometry were done in all patients and data were correlated with baseline disease severity. Fatigue and breathlessness were the most common symptoms followed by cough, chest pain and fever. Persistent symptoms and their severity were significantly higher in severe/moderate cases. Spirometry was abnormal in 45.88% of subjects and the most common pattern was restrictive type. It was seen that the likelihood of persistent symptoms and abnormal lung function increased significantly with the severity of COVID-19, age, comorbidities, hospital stay duration and steroid/oxygen therapy. The current study estimated the burden and array of various pulmonary sequelae encountered by post-COVID patients and elicited various risk factors associated with their occurrence after recovery from active infection. Awareness of these symptoms/sequelae and their risk factors is necessary for their follow-up and timely management, as the threat of this relatively new virus has still not abated.