Characteristics of long-COVID among older adults: a cross-sectional study

ESCMID Study Group for Infections in the Elderly (ESGIE)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To describe long-COVID symptoms among older adults and to assess the risk factors for two common long-COVID symptoms: fatigue and dyspnea. Methods: This is a multicenter, prospective cohort study conducted in Israel, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy. Individuals were included at least 30 days after their COVID-19 diagnosis. We compared long-COVID symptoms between elderly (aged >65 years) and younger individuals (aged 18-65 years) and conducted univariate and multivariable analyses for the predictors of long-COVID fatigue and dyspnea. Results: A total of 2333 individuals were evaluated at an average of 5 months (146 days [95% confidence interval 142-150]) after COVID-19 onset. The mean age was 51 years, and 20.5% were aged >65 years. Older adults were more likely to be symptomatic, with the most common symptoms being fatigue (38%) and dyspnea (30%); they were more likely to complain of cough and arthralgia and have abnormal chest imaging and pulmonary function tests. Independent risk factors for long-COVID fatigue and dyspnea included female gender, obesity, and closer proximity to COVID-19 diagnosis; older age was not an independent predictor. Conclusion: Older individuals with long-COVID have different persisting symptoms, with more pronounced pulmonary impairment. Women and individuals with obesity are at risk. Further research is warranted to investigate the natural history of long-COVID among the elderly population and to assess possible interventions aimed at promoting rehabilitation and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume125
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Long-COVID
  • Long-lasting symptoms
  • Older adults
  • Post-COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2

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