American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting

American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting

Source:

Barbhaiya M. Abstract 0095. Presented at: ACR Convergence 2021; November 5-9, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Barbhaiya reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
November 17, 2021
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More than half of patients with rheumatic disease, COVID-19 report 'long-haul' symptoms

Source:

Barbhaiya M. Abstract 0095. Presented at: ACR Convergence 2021; November 5-9, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Barbhaiya reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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COVID-19 symptoms persisted for at least 1 month in nearly 56% of patients with rheumatic disease who contracted COVID-19, according to survey data presented at ACR Convergence 2021.

“COVID-19 long-haulers are described as individuals who experience persistent symptoms after having COVID-19,” Medha Barbhaiya, MD, MPH, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said in a poster presentation. “Whether this is a particular concern for rheumatic disease patients due to their underlying immune dysregulation or their use of immunosuppressive medications is poorly understood.”

Photo of man with head in hands
“Our study shows that over half of rheumatology patients with COVID-19 reported persistent symptoms for at least 1 month,” Medha Barbhaiya, MD, MPH, told attendees at ACR Convergence 2021. Source: Adobe Stock

To examine the prevalence of “long-haul” COVID-19 symptoms in patients with rheumatic disease, Barbhaiya and colleagues analyzed data from a secure web-based survey of participants who had been seen by a rheumatologist at least once between 2018 and 2020. The online survey was sent on March 5, 2021.

Of 2,572 survey respondents, 254 reported a history of confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Among these patients, 55.9% indicated they experienced “long-haul” symptoms lasting 1 month or more, while 44.09% reported symptoms lasting less than 1 month.

Medha Barbhaiya

There were no demographic differences between those with and without “long-haul” symptoms. Similarly, the researchers reported no differences between those with systemic or non-systemic rheumatic disease.

Patients with “long-haul” symptoms were more likely to have at least one medical comorbidity and be a current or former smoker, according to the presentation. They were also more likely to use corticosteroids for at least 3 months at time of COVID-19 diagnosis (P = .002). Additionally, those with persistent symptoms demonstrated a significantly higher frequency of most COVID-19 symptoms at presentation, most commonly chills, cough, fatigue or malaise, headache or migraine, loss of smell or taste, muscle aches, memory or concentration problems, joint pain and shortness of breath.

Regarding quality of life, Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System scores suggested clinically worse anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain in the long-hauler group, according to the presentation.

“Our study shows that over half of rheumatology patients with COVID-19 reported persistent symptoms for at least 1 month,” Barbhaiya said. “And long-hauler patients were more likely to have had more medical comorbidities, smoking history and use of chronic corticosteroids at the time of their COVID-19 diagnosis.”