One in three people who have overcome Covid-19 was diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric disorder within six months of infection, according to the largest study to date on the mental toll of former Covid patients.
Anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) were the most common diagnoses, according to the study, published Wednesday in the specialized journal The Lancet Psychiatry.
The incidence of neurological damage such as cerebral hemorrhages (0.6%), strokes (2.1%) and dementia (0.7%) was overall weaker, but the risk was generally higher among patients who had been seriously ill.
If the risk at the individual level of most of these neurological and psychiatric disorders is low, the effect may be ”
For health systems due to the scale of the pandemic, notes Professor Paul Harrison (University of Oxford, UK), lead author of the study. Especially since many of these disorders are ”
“, He argues, pleading to endow health systems with resources”
to meet the needs
Higher risk in hospitalized patients
By analyzing the electronic health records of 236,379 patients with Covid, the authors note that 34% were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric illness within six months of infection. For 13% of these people, it was their first neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.
The risk of developing long-term disorders is increased in patients hospitalized with severe Covid-19. So, 46% of patients admitted to intensive care were diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric disorders six months after infection. Almost 7% of patients who had been in intensive care had a subsequent stroke, 2.7% had a cerebral hemorrhage and almost 2% developed dementia, compared with 1.3%, 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively. of those not hospitalized.
The researchers also looked at data from over 100,000 patients diagnosed with influenza and over 236,000 patients diagnosed with respiratory infections. The risk of neurological or psychiatric diagnoses was overall 44% higher after the Covid than after the flu, and 16% higher than after a respiratory tract infection.
The people studied were probably more seriously affected than in the general population, however, note the authors by referring to those, many, who do not go to consult for mild or non-existent symptoms.