Background: Some patients continue to experience symptoms related to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the acute phase of infection. Imaging studies, especially computed tomography (CT) of the chest, have gained importance since the beginning of the pandemic. CT can help diagnose COVID-19, assess the extent of pulmonary involvement, and predict the disease severity. We aimed to define the frequency of persistent symptoms and correlate their presence with the results of laboratory findings and the severity of the disease based on the findings of chest CT.
Methods: We examined patients discharged from the hospital after treatment for COVID-19 and whose nasopharyngeal swab sample tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 after at least 4 weeks from the initial diagnosis. The patients were asked about the presence of persisting symptoms. In addition to the demographic data, laboratory results and severity levels seen on the chest CT were recorded.
Results: In all, 116 patients were included in the study, of which 61 reported at least one persisting symptom (52.5%). The mean age of the study population was 48.90 ± 17.74 years. The persistent symptoms included shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, muscle weakness, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and palpitations. The mean CT severity score was 3.80 ± 0.38 and it was lower in patients without any persistent symptoms.
Conclusions: Levels of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, anemia, and female sex were associated with some of the persistent symptoms., the severity of the disease seen on CT was a successful predictor for the disease severity/prognosis and was also correlated with prolonged COVID infection and more persistent symptoms.