Differences in Clinical Presentation With Long COVID After Community and Hospital Infection and Associations With All-Cause Mortality: English Sentinel Network Database Study
Meza-Torres B., Delanerolle G., Okusi C., Mayor N., Anand S., Macartney J., Gatenby P., Glampson B., Chapman M., Curcin V., Mayer E., Joy M., Greenhalgh T., Delaney B., de Lusignan S.
BACKGROUND: Most studies of long COVID (symptoms of COVID-19 infection beyond 4 weeks) have focused on people hospitalized in their initial illness. Long COVID is thought to be underrecorded in UK primary care electronic records. OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine which symptoms people present to primary care after COVID-19 infection and whether presentation differs in people who were not hospitalized, as well as post-long COVID mortality rates. METHODS: We used routine data from the nationally representative primary care sentinel cohort of the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre (N=7,396,702), applying a predefined long COVID phenotype and grouped by whether the index infection occurred in hospital or in the community. We included COVID-19 infection cases from March 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021. We conducted a before-and-after analysis of long COVID symptoms prespecified by the Office of National Statistics, comparing symptoms presented between 1 and 6 months after the index infection matched with the same months 1 year previously. We conducted logistic regression analysis, quoting odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs. RESULTS: In total, 5.63% (416,505/7,396,702) and 1.83% (7623/416,505) of the patients had received a coded diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and diagnosis of, or referral for, long COVID, respectively. People with diagnosis or referral of long COVID had higher odds of presenting the prespecified symptoms after versus before COVID-19 infection (OR 2.66, 95% CI 2.46-2.88, for those with index community infection and OR 2.42, 95% CI 2.03-2.89, for those hospitalized). After an index community infection, patients were more likely to present with nonspecific symptoms (OR 3.44, 95% CI 3.00-3.95; P