EHRN: Nearly 1 in 10 COVID Patients Seek Treatment for Long-Term Symptoms

EHRN: Nearly 1 in 10 COVID Patients Seek Treatment for Long-Term Symptoms

Abstract: 9.4% of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 sought treatment for symptoms that might indicate long-haul COVID.

Team A: Karina Rohrer-Meck, BSA, RN | David Marchena, MPS | Lily Rubin-Miller, MPH
Team B: Howard Bregman, MD | Justin Lo, PhD, MT(ASCP) | Neil Sandberg
20 Jul 2021

To better understand the prevalence of long-haul symptoms after COVID-19 infection, we studied 693,375 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who did not have prior indication of a long-haul symptom before their COVID positivity. We found that 9.4% sought treatment after their diagnosis for symptoms that might indicate long-haul COVID,1,2,3 as shown in Figure 1.

The most common diagnosis was breathing difficulty, while loss of smell or taste was the least common. The different rates of individual diagnoses might represent a difference in patients’ likelihood to seek treatment for that condition and not in how prevalent those symptoms are in the population, as our analysis is limited to symptoms reported during an encounter with a healthcare provider. We also found that female patients were more likely than male patients to have a new diagnosis consistent with long-haul COVID: 63.5% of patients with such a diagnosis were female.

These long-haul COVID diagnoses were also more prevalent in patients who had been hospitalized for COVID-19, with 15.4% of previously admitted patients and only 8.4% of non-admitted patients seeking treatment for any of the diagnoses included in the study.