A clinical review of long-COVID with a focus on the respiratory system

Luke Daines*, Bang Zheng, Paul Pfeffer, John R. Hurst, Aziz Sheikh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose of review
Persistence of symptoms after acute COVID-19, often described as long-COVID, is common and debilitating. In this article, we review the epidemiology, clinical features, and research priorities for long-COVID focusing on the respiratory system.

Recent findings
Breathlessness, cough and chest pain were the most commonly reported respiratory symptoms associated with long-COVID. In hospitalised patients, abnormalities on lung function testing or chest imaging were observed less commonly at 12 months compared to six months since discharge. Clinical assessment of patients with persisting symptoms after acute COVID-19 requires a comprehensive evaluation to exclude other possible causes for symptoms. With no robust current evidence for interventions to treat long-COVID respiratory symptoms, symptomatic treatment, supported self-management and pulmonary rehabilitation should be considered to help individuals with respiratory symptoms associated with long-COVID.

Summary
Long-COVID is a debilitating syndrome which often includes persisting respiratory symptoms and to a lesser degree, abnormalities in lung physiology or imaging. Respiratory features of long-COVID may reduce over time, yet resolution is not seen in all cases. Future research is needed to understand the natural history of long-COVID, identify factors associated with spontaneous improvement/persistence, investigate mechanisms for persisting symptoms, and test interventions to prevent and treat long-COVID.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-179
JournalCurrent opinion in pulmonary medicine
Volume28
Issue number3
Early online date7 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19/complications
  • Cough
  • Humans
  • Respiratory System
  • SARS-CoV-2

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