Sequelae of COVID-19 can be severe and longlasting. We compared frequencies of fatigue, depression and cognitive dysfunction in survivors of SARS-CoV-2-infection and sepsis.
We performed a prospective cohort study of 355 symptomatic post-COVID patients who visited our out-patient clinic for post-COVID-19 care. We compared them with 272 symptomatic patients from the Mid-German Sepsis Cohort, which investigates the long-term courses of sepsis survivors. Possible predictors for frequent clinical findings (fatigue, signs of depression, cognitive dysfunction) in post-COVID were investigated with multivariable logistic regression.
Median age of the post-COVID patients was 51 years (range 17-86), 60.0% were female, and 31.8% required hospitalization during acute COVID-19. In the post-COVID patients (median follow-up time: 163 days) and the post-sepsis patients (180 days), fatigue was found in 93.2% and 67.8%, signs of depression were found in 81.3% and 10.9%, and cognitive dysfunction was found in 23.5% and 21.3%, respectively. In post-COVID, we did not observe an association between fatigue or depression and the severity of acute COVID-19. In contrast, cognitive dysfunction was associated with hospitalization (out-patient versus in-patient) and more frequent in post-COVID patients treated on an ICU compared to the MSC patients.
In post-COVID patients, fatigue and signs of depression are more common than in sepsis survivors, independent from the acute SARS-CoV-2-infection. In contrast, cognitive dysfunction is associated with hospitalization. Despite the differences in frequencies, owing to the similarity of post-COVID and post-sepsis sequelae, this knowledge may help in implementing follow-up approaches after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

© 2022. The Author(s).