Post-COVID-19 syndrome risk factors and further use of health services in East England

Maciej Dębski, Vasiliki Tsampasian, Shawn Haney, Katy Blakely, Samantha Weston, Eleana Ntatsaki, Mark Lim, Susan Madden, Aris Perperoglou, Vassilios S. Vassiliou

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Post-COVID syndrome, defined as symptoms persisting for more than twelve weeks after the diagnosis of COVID-19, has been recognised as a new clinical entity in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study was conducted to characterise the burden and predictors for post-COVID-19 syndrome in the local population. It was a community-based web-survey study conducted in Norfolk, East England, UK. We sent the survey to patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection by real-time polymerase chain reaction by December 6th, 2020. Questions related to the pre-COVID and post-COVID level of symptoms and further healthcare use. Baseline characteristics were collected from the primary care records. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to establish predictors for post-COVID-19 syndrome and further healthcare utilisation. Of 6,318 patients, survey responses were obtained from 1,487 participants (23.5%). Post-COVID-19 syndrome symptoms were experienced by 774 (52.1%) respondents. Male sex compared to female sex was a factor protective of post-COVID symptoms; relative risk (RR) 0.748, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.605–0.924. Body mass index was associated with a greater risk of developing post-COVID-19 symptoms (RR 1.031, 95% CI, 1.016–1.047, for 1 kg/m2). A total of 378 (25.4%) people used further health services after their index COVID-19 infection, of whom 277 (73.2%) had post-COVID symptoms. Male sex was negatively associated with the use of further health services (RR 0.618, 95% CI, 0.464–0.818) whereas BMI was positively associated (RR 1.027, 95% CI, 1.009–1.046). Overall, post-COVID-19 symptoms increased the probability of using health services with RR 3.280, 95% CI, 2.540–4.262. This survey of a large number of people previously diagnosed with COVID-19 across East England shows a high prevalence of self-reported post-COVID-19 syndrome. Female sex and BMI were associated with an increased risk of post-COVID-19 syndrome and further utilisation of healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0001188
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022

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