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Lancet Respir Med ; 9(5): 533-544, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537202


Cough is one of the most common presenting symptoms of COVID-19, along with fever and loss of taste and smell. Cough can persist for weeks or months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, often accompanied by chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, dyspnoea, or pain-a collection of long-term effects referred to as the post-COVID syndrome or long COVID. We hypothesise that the pathways of neurotropism, neuroinflammation, and neuroimmunomodulation through the vagal sensory nerves, which are implicated in SARS-CoV-2 infection, lead to a cough hypersensitivity state. The post-COVID syndrome might also result from neuroinflammatory events in the brain. We highlight gaps in understanding of the mechanisms of acute and chronic COVID-19-associated cough and post-COVID syndrome, consider potential ways to reduce the effect of COVID-19 by controlling cough, and suggest future directions for research and clinical practice. Although neuromodulators such as gabapentin or opioids might be considered for acute and chronic COVID-19 cough, we discuss the possible mechanisms of COVID-19-associated cough and the promise of new anti-inflammatories or neuromodulators that might successfully target both the cough of COVID-19 and the post-COVID syndrome.

COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cough/etiology , Inflammation/etiology , Nervous System Diseases/etiology , Neuroimmunomodulation , Cough/physiopathology , Humans , Inflammation/physiopathology , Nervous System Diseases/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Syndrome
ERJ Open Res ; 7(1)2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1081206


BACKGROUND: A standardised approach to assessing COVID-19 survivors has not been established, largely due to the paucity of data on medium- and long-term sequelae. Interval chest radiography is recommended following community-acquired pneumonia; however, its utility in monitoring recovery from COVID-19 pneumonia remains unclear. METHODS: This was a prospective single-centre observational cohort study. Patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 pneumonia (admission duration ≥48 h and oxygen requirement ≥40% or critical care admission) underwent face-to-face assessment at 4-6 weeks post-discharge. The primary outcome was radiological resolution of COVID-19 pneumonitis (Radiographic Assessment of Lung Oedema score <5). Secondary outcomes included clinical outcomes, symptom questionnaires, mental health screening (Trauma Screening Questionnaire, seven-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder assessment and nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire) and physiological testing (4-m gait speed (4MGS) and 1-min Sit-to-Stand (STS) tests). RESULTS: 119 patients were assessed between June 3, 2020 and July 2, 2020 at median (interquartile range (IQR)) 61 (51-67) days post-discharge: mean±sd age 58.7±14.4 years, median (IQR) body mass index 30.0 (25.9-35.2) kg·m-2, 62% male and 70% ethnic minority. Despite radiographic resolution of pulmonary infiltrates in 87%, modified Medical Research Council Dyspnoea (breathlessness) scale grades were above pre-COVID-19 baseline in 44%, and patients reported persistent fatigue (68%), sleep disturbance (57%) and breathlessness (32%). Screening thresholds were breached for post-traumatic stress disorder (25%), anxiety (22%) and depression (18%). 4MGS was slow (<0.8 m·s-1) in 38% and 35% desaturated by ≥4% during the STS test. Of 56 thoracic computed tomography scans performed, 75% demonstrated COVID-19-related interstitial and/or airways disease. CONCLUSIONS: Persistent symptoms, adverse mental health outcomes and physiological impairment are common 2 months after severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Follow-up chest radiography is a poor marker of recovery; therefore, holistic face-to-face assessment is recommended to facilitate early recognition and management of post-COVID-19 sequelae.