COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

Prognosis Sarfraz Z, Sarfraz A, Barrios A, et al. Cardio-Pulmonary Sequelae in Recovered COVID-19 Patients: Considerations for Primary Care. J Prim Care Community Health. 2021 Jan-Dec;12:21501327211023726. doi: 10.1177/21501327211023726.

BACKGROUND: Current literature lacks characterization of the post-recovery sequelae among COVID-19 patients. This review characterizes the course of clinical, laboratory, radiological findings during the primary infection period, and the complications post-recovery. Primary care findings are presented for long-COVID care.

METHODS: Adhering to PRISMA guidelines, 4 databases were searched (PubMed, Embase, CINAHL Plus, Scopus) through December 5, 2020, using the keywords "COVID-19 and/or recovered and/or cardiovascular and/or long-term and/or sequelae and/or sub-acute and/or complication." We included published peer-reviewed case reports, case series, and cross-sectional studies providing the clinical course of COVID-19 infection, and cardiopulmonary complications of patients who recovered from COVID-19, while making healthcare considerations for primary care workers.

RESULTS: We identified 29 studies across 9 countries including 37.9% Chinese and 24.1% U.S. studies, comprising 655 patients (Mean Age = 45) with various ethnical backgrounds including Asian and European. Based on the WHO COVID-19 severity classification scale, initial disease severity was mild for 377 patients and severe for 52 patients. Treatments during primary infection included corticosteroids, oxygen support, and antivirals. The mean value (in days) for complication onset after acute recovery was 28 days. Complete blood counts and RT-PCR tests were the most common laboratory results described. In 22 of the studies, patients showed signs of clinical improvement and were prescribed medications such as anticoagulants or corticosteroids.

CONCLUSION: Post-recovery infectious complications are common in long-COVID-19 patients ranging from mild infections to life-threatening conditions. International thoracic and cardiovascular societies need to develop guidelines for patients recovering from COVID-19 pneumonia, while focused patient care by the primary care physician is crucial to curb preventable adverse events. Recommendations for real-time and lab-quality diagnostic tests are warranted to establish point-of-care testing, detect early complications, and provide timely treatment.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Infectious Disease
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
Intensivist/Critical Care
Comments from MORE raters

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

This observational study is of peripheral interest at best. There is minimal perspective on the prevalence of ongoing lung disease. After reading this experience, it does not reflect the concerns or management issues related to on going diminished diffusion capacity that I have observed in my own patients recovering from Covid pulmonary disease.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

The value of this article is in its focus on primary care providers and their role, as opposed to it providing novel clinical findings. I think this is important because although many institutions have developed "Post COVID Centers," not all have. As with any other specialized service, it will not be accessible to all patients.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

This review provides early results of patients with COVID and long-COVID. Newer and broader data are available.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

There are limitations with a retrospective review, but this is an important part of the growing knowledge about the late effects of COVID-19 infection that we might see in the office.