TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The frequency of occurrence of long COVID substantially differs based on severity of the acute infection, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Pontus Hedberg, M.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues used data from 204,805 adults with a verified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (March 2020 through July 2021). Frequency of diagnosis of a post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) 90 to 360 days after a positive test was assessed.

The researchers found that the proportion receiving a PCC diagnosis was 1 percent among individuals not hospitalized for COVID-19, 6 percent among hospitalized individuals, and 32 percent among intensive care unit (ICU)-treated individuals. New-onset symptom diagnosis codes most commonly included fatigue (29 percent) among nonhospitalized individuals and dyspnea among both hospitalized (25 percent) and ICU-treated (41 percent) individuals. Among both nonhospitalized and hospitalized individuals, female sex was associated with a PCC diagnosis, as were previous mental health disorders and asthma. Among individuals with a PCC diagnosis, up to one year after acute infection, the monthly proportion of individuals with outpatient care was substantially elevated versus before infection and was largely attributed to PCC-related care.

“The elevated outpatient primary and specialist care use indicates poor recovery for individuals suffering from post-COVID-19 condition, highlighting the urgent need to better understand this condition and its potential resolution over time,” Hedberg said in a statement.

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