(HealthDay News) — Organ impairment persists in 59% of individuals 1 year after COVID-19, according to a study published online in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Andrea Dennis, PhD, from Perspectum in Oxford, England, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study to examine the prevalence of organ impairment in patients with long COVID at 6 and 12 months after initial symptoms. A total of 536 individuals completed baseline assessment at a median of 6 months post-COVID-19; 331 (62%) with organ impairment or incidental findings had follow-up.

The researchers found that participants had reduced symptom burden at follow-up, with a median of 10 and 3 symptoms at 6 and 12 months, respectively. At 6 and 12 months, extreme breathlessness (38% and 30%), cognitive dysfunction (48% and 38%), and poor health-related quality of life (EQ-5D-5L <0.7: 57 and 45%) were common; these symptoms were associated with female gender, younger age, and single-organ impairment. Overall, 69% and 23% had single- and multi-organ impairment at baseline, respectively, which persisted in 59% and 27% at follow-up.

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“Organ impairment in long COVID has implications for symptoms, quality of life and longer-term health, signaling the need for prevention and integrated care for long COVID patients,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Several authors are employees of Perspectum. One author disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca.

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