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Immunol Res ; 69(6): 553-557, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345196


The persistence of neurological symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as the presence of late axonal damage, is still unknown. We performed extensive systemic and neurological follow-up evaluations in 107 out of 193 consecutive patients admitted to the COVID-19 medical unit, University Hospital of Verona, Italy between March and June 2020. We analysed serum neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels in all cases including a subgroup (n = 29) of patients with available onset samples. Comparisons between clinical and biomarker data were then performed. Neurological symptoms were still present in a significant number (n = 49) of patients over the follow-up. The most common reported symptoms were hyposmia (n = 11), fatigue (n = 28), myalgia (n = 14), and impaired memory (n = 11) and were more common in cases with severe acute COVID-19. Follow-up serum NfL values (15.2 pg/mL, range 2.4-62.4) were within normal range in all except 5 patients and did not differentiate patients with vs without persistent neurological symptoms. In patients with available onset and follow-up samples, a significant (p < 0.001) decrease of NfL levels was observed and was more evident in patients with a severe acute disease. Despite the common persistence of neurological symptoms, COVID-19 survivors do not show active axonal damage, which seems a peculiar feature of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Axons/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Nervous System Diseases/pathology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Ageusia/pathology , Ageusia/virology , Anosmia/pathology , Anosmia/virology , Axons/virology , Disease Progression , Fatigue/pathology , Fatigue/virology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Memory Disorders/pathology , Memory Disorders/virology , Middle Aged , Myalgia/pathology , Myalgia/virology , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Neurofilament Proteins/blood , SARS-CoV-2
J Neurovirol ; 27(4): 631-637, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338291


SARS-CoV-2 survivors may report persistent symptoms that resemble myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). We explored (a) ME/CFS-like symptom prevalence and (b) whether axonal, inflammatory, and/or lung changes may contribute to ME/CFS-like symptoms in SARS-CoV-2 survivors through clinical, neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, lung function assessment, and serum neurofilament light chain, an axonal damage biomarker. ME/CFS-like features were found in 27% of our sample. ME/CFS-like group showed worse sleep quality, fatigue, pain, depressive symptoms, subjective cognitive complaints, Borg baseline dyspnea of the 6-min walking test vs. those without ME/CFS-like symptoms. These preliminary findings raise concern on a possible future ME/CFS-like pandemic in SARS-CoV-2 survivors.

COVID-19/complications , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/epidemiology , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/virology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(3)2021 Mar 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1158368


The cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) provides an objective assessment of ventilatory limitation, related to the exercise minute ventilation (VE) coupled to carbon dioxide output (VCO2) (VE/VCO2); high values of VE/VCO2 slope define an exercise ventilatory inefficiency (EVin). In subjects recovered from hospitalised COVID-19, we explored the methodology of CPET in order to evaluate the presence of cardiopulmonary alterations. Our prospective study (RESPICOVID) has been proposed to evaluate pulmonary damage's clinical impact in post-COVID subjects. In a subgroup of subjects (RESPICOVID2) without baseline confounders, we performed the CPET. According to the VE/VCO2 slope, subjects were divided into having EVin and exercise ventilatory efficiency (EVef). Data concerning general variables, hospitalisation, lung function, and gas-analysis were also collected. The RESPICOVID2 enrolled 28 subjects, of whom 8 (29%) had EVin. As compared to subjects with EVef, subjects with EVin showed a reduction in heart rate (HR) recovery. VE/VCO2 slope was inversely correlated with HR recovery; this correlation was confirmed in a subgroup of older, non-smoking male subjects, regardless of the presence of arterial hypertension. More than one-fourth of subjects recovered from hospitalised COVID-19 have EVin. The relationship between EVin and HR recovery may represent a novel hallmark of post-COVID cardiopulmonary alterations.

J Clin Med ; 10(5)2021 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125394


Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 show persistent symptoms and lung function alterations with a restrictive ventilatory pattern. Few data are available evaluating an extended period of COVID-19 clinical progression. The RESPICOVID study has been designed to evaluate patients' pulmonary damage previously hospitalised for interstitial pneumonia due to COVID-19. We focused on the arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis variables due to the initial observation that some patients had hypocapnia (arterial partial carbon dioxide pressure-PaCO2 ≤ 35 mmHg). Therefore, we aimed to characterise patients with hypocapnia compared to patients with normocapnia (PaCO2 > 35 mmHg). Data concerning demographic and anthropometric variables, clinical symptoms, hospitalisation, lung function and gas-analysis were collected. Our study comprised 81 patients, of whom 19 (24%) had hypocapnia as compared to the remaining (n = 62, 76%), and defined by lower levels of PaCO2, serum bicarbonate (HCO3-), carbon monoxide diffusion capacity (DLCO), and carbon monoxide transfer coefficient (KCO) with an increased level of pH and arterial partial oxygen pressure (PaO2). KCO was directly correlated with PaCO2 and inversely with pH. In our preliminary report, hypocapnia is associated with a residual lung function impairment in diffusing capacity. We focus on ABG analysis's informativeness in the follow-up of post-COVID patients.