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Long COVID-19 Patients With Fatigue Suffers Dysautonomia, Study Reveals

A recent study has revealed that patients with long novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 with fatigue typically experience dysautonomia, which manifests a dysregulation of heart rate variability or HRV, as reflected by an altered nociception level or NOL index.

Long COVID-19 Patients With Fatigue Suffers Dysautonomia, Study Reveals | InStyleHealth
Photo: Doctors Attending COVID-19 Patient | InStyleHealth

There were 39 volunteers in the current study: 12 with COVID-19 and fatigue, 15 with COVID-19 without fatigue, and 12 without either condition. The 3 groups were comparable in relation to age, gender, and comorbidities. HRV was reflected using the NOL index, which was generated from a pain monitoring system device.

A fatigue was defined as satisfying two of the following characteristics: scores in the Nijmegen Continuity Questionnaire >23, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) results >20, loss of body mass >10%, and 30 s of up and test inferior to 3.

For patients with long COVID-19 with fatigue, they scored significantly higher on the Nijmegen Continuity Questionnaire (36 vs 20), and PCL-5 (31 vs 18) compared it with those without fatigue. Loss of body mass >10% and outcomes in the 30 s of up and down test were comparable between the groups.

The curves of NOL index showed a significant dissociation over time between long COVID-19 patients with fatigue and the control participants group.

Long COVID-19 participants with fatigue may exhibit a dysautonomia characterized by dysregulation of the HRV, reflected by the NOL index, compared to control participants.

Dysautonomia may explain the persistent symptoms observed in long COVID-19 participants, such as fatigue and hypoxia.

– Researchers


Source: Sci Rep 2021;11:14042

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