Fatigue, mood disorders associated with post-COVID-19 syndrome

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Patients diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome, also known as “PCS”, “COVID-19 long-haul syndrome” and “Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS COV-2”, have symptoms such as mood disorders, fatigue and perceived cognitive impairment that can interfere with returning to work and resuming normal activities, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic.

The study reports the first 100 patients to participate in the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation Program (CARP), one of the first multidisciplinary programs established to assess and treat patients with post-syndrome. COVID-19. The patients were assessed and treated between June 1 and December 31, 2020. They had an average age of 45 years and 68% were female. They were evaluated on average 93 days after infection.

The most common symptom of patients seeking evaluation for post-COVID-19 syndrome was fatigue. Of the patients in the study, 80% reported unusual fatigue, while 59% had difficulty breathing and a similar percentage had neurological impairment. More than a third of patients reported difficulty performing basic activities of daily living, and only 1 in 3 patients had returned to unrestricted work activity.

“Most of the patients in the study did not have pre-existing co-morbidities prior to COVID-19 infection, and many did not have symptoms related to COVID-19 severe enough to require hospitalization,” says Greg Vanichkachorn, MD , Mayo Clinic’s COVID Medical Director. 19 Activity rehabilitation program and first author of the study. “Most of the patients had normal or nondiagnostic lab and imaging results despite debilitating symptoms. This is one of the challenges of diagnosing PCS in a timely manner and then responding effectively.

Nevertheless, the symptoms often had significant negative effects as patients attempted to resume their normal daily activities, including work. “Most of the patients we have worked with have required physiotherapy, occupational therapy or brain rehabilitation to remedy the perceived cognitive impairment,” says Dr Vanichkachorn. “While many patients suffered from fatigue, more than half also reported disturbances in thinking, commonly referred to as ‘brain fog’. And more than a third of patients had problems with basic activities of living. Many have not been able to resume their normal working lives for at least several months. “

The Mayo Clinic developed the COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester in June 2020 to manage patients with persistent symptoms after COVID-19 infection. In addition to Dr Vanichkachorn, Mayo Clinic staff from many specialist areas are involved in diagnosis and treatment. Among the services provided is psychosocial support to patients who frequently report feelings of abandonment, guilt and frustration during the initial assessment.

The Mayo Clinic is conducting intensive research on post-COVID-19 syndrome, in part to better define how the disease presents itself in different socio-economic groups and ethnicities. Prolonged symptoms, such as those experienced with post-COVID-19 syndrome, have been reported in previous outbreaks.

“As the pandemic continues, we expect to see more patients who show symptoms long after infection, and healthcare providers need to prepare for them, know what to look for and know how to respond. best meet the needs of their patients, ”says Dr Vanichkachorn.

Patients who have recovered from an acute infection should not wait to be evaluated if they have prolonged symptoms, although Dr Vanichkachorn says providers should be wise in recommending expensive diagnostic tests, which are not often not covered by insurance and do not show significant signs. information.


The authors of the study have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

About Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic

Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic is a peer-reviewed monthly journal that publishes original articles and journals dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic scientific research, and clinical epidemiology. Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic is sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education.

About the Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to all in need of healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for more information on the Mayo Clinic. For more information on COVID-19, including the Mayo Clinic Coronavirus Map Tracker, which offers 14-day forecasts on COVID-19 trends, visit the Mayo Resource Center COVID-19 Clinic.

Media contact:

Heather Carlson Kehren, Mayo Clinic Public Affair, [email protected]

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