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Sharing our progress toward recovery

Research Summaries

Discover what the latest science from the RECOVER Initiative means for our ability to understand, treat, and prevent Long COVID.

This page contains descriptions of findings from RECOVER research studies. These descriptions use plain language and a format that is easy to understand.

If you want to learn more about the scientific discoveries described here, you can also browse and search the complete list of RECOVER Publications.

18 Results

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18 Results

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Short Summary
Review Adult

Sherif, ZA; Gomez, CR; Connors, TJ; et. al., eLife

RECOVER researchers conducted a detailed review of published papers that try to explain how the COVID-19 virus causes the symptoms and conditions associated with Long COVID. Researchers compared how Long COVID is similar to other long-standing viral conditions (such as Epstein Barr virus, commonly known as Mono) to see if there is a common method used by COVID-19 and these other viral conditions to cause the associated symptoms and conditions.

RECOVER researchers believe that there is no one common method by which the COVID-19 virus causes the symptoms and conditions associated with Long COVID. Because there was no observed common method causing these Long COVID symptoms, researchers recommend that treatments are customized to each individual patient's specific symptoms and conditions.

Short Summary
EHR Adult

Pfaff, ER; Madlock-Brown, C; Baratta, JM; et. al., BMC Medicine

RECOVER researchers looked at the use of a code to diagnose Long COVID in electronic health records (EHRs). They used EHR data from over 8,000 people and compared people who had the ICD-10 code for Long COVID (which is U09.9) in their EHR on or after October 1, 2021. They also looked at other codes in their EHR for health conditions, symptoms, tests, and treatments within 60 days after their Long COVID diagnosis.

Researchers found that many doctors use the Long COVID code along with other codes. People with Long COVID had a mix of symptoms and other health conditions, tests, and treatments. This suggests there may be different types of Long COVID. The researchers concluded that for now, doctors should look at a person’s mix of symptoms and other health conditions to diagnose Long COVID.

Research Summary
EHR Adult

Zhang, H; Zang, C; Xu, Z; et. al., Nature Medicine

RECOVER researchers wanted to learn if there are different types of Long COVID based on symptoms and health problems that often happen together. Researchers used data from electronic health records (EHRs) of about 35,000 people diagnosed with COVID. The EHRs were from 2 healthcare systems in PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. They used a computer program to look for patterns in people’s new symptoms and health problems that started 30 to 180 days after having COVID.

The researchers found 4 main types of Long COVID based on symptoms and health problems that happen together. The 4 types of Long COVID are related to the 1) heart and kidneys, 2) breathing, sleep, and anxiety, 3) muscles and nerves, and 4) digestive tract and breathing. This research could help define types of Long COVID to give people more specific diagnoses and treatment plans.

Short Summary
EHR Adult

Reese, JT; Blau, H; Casiraghi, E; et. al., eBioMedicine

In this study, RECOVER researchers used a computer program to identify possible types of Long COVID based on electronic health records (EHRs). They used the computer program to review EHRs of people diagnosed with Long COVID and group them based on patterns in their symptoms and health conditions.

The computer program found 6 different types of Long COVID, which were related to 1) many symptoms and health conditions with unusual lab test results, 2) the lungs, 3) the brain, 4) the heart, 5) pain and feeling weak and tired (fatigue), and 6) many symptoms and conditions with pain. Each type of Long COVID also differed based on health conditions people had before COVID and how severe their COVID infection was. This research could help identify people with different types of Long COVID to better diagnose and treat them and invite them to join research studies.

Research Summary
EHR Pediatric

Rao, S; Lee, GM; Razzaghi, H; et. al., JAMA Pediatrics

RECOVER researchers used data in electronic health records (EHRs) from children’s hospitals that were a part of the National Pediatric Learning Health System Network (PEDSnet). Researchers looked for symptoms, health conditions, and medicines children had about 1 to 6 months after a COVID test. They compared children who did and didn’t have COVID to learn how many children who had COVID got Long COVID, and symptoms and health problems Long COVID causes in children.

The researchers learned that Long COVID is uncommon in children and happens in about 4% of children with COVID compared to in about 5% - 21% of adults with COVID. They also learned the Long COVID symptoms and health conditions that happen most often in children include changes in smell or taste hair loss, trouble breathing, and inflammation (swelling) in the heart or muscles.

Research Summary
EHR Adult

Pfaff, ER; Girvin, AT; Bennett, TD; et. al., The Lancet Digital Health

RECOVER researchers wanted to learn if a computer program could identify if people have Long COVID based on electronic health records (EHRs). They used EHRs from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C). Researchers created and used a computer program to compare people with Long COVID to those who didn’t have Long COVID (based on whether or not people had a visit to a Long COVID clinic in their EHR). The computer program looked for patterns in people’s symptoms, health conditions, and other data.

The researchers concluded their computer program could be used to identify people with possible Long COVID. The computer program found that people with Long COVID have patterns in their health care visits, age groups, symptoms and health conditions, and the medicines they take. This could help connect people with Long COVID to health care or invite them to join research studies.

Research Summary
EHR Adult

Coleman, B; Casiraghi, E; Blau, H; et. al., World Psychiatry

RECOVER researchers wanted to learn more about the chance of getting a mental health condition after having COVID. Researchers reviewed electronic health records (EHRs) of people who had COVID and people who had other types of respiratory tract infections (RTIs). They looked at how many people were diagnosed with a mental health condition shortly (21 days to 4 months) after having COVID compared to other RTIs. They also looked at how many people were diagnosed later (more than 4 months to 1 year) after having COVID compared to other RTIs.

The researchers found that people who had COVID were about a quarter (25%) more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition shortly after having COVID (21 days to 4 months afterwards) compared to people who had other RTIs. The researchers concluded that health care systems should do mental health screenings shortly after a person has COVID to better diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

Research Summary + Video
EHR Adult Pediatric

Block, JP; Boehmer, TK; Forrest, CB; et. al., Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

RECOVER researchers used data from over 15 million people’s electronic health records (EHR) to compare how many people have heart problems after having COVID or getting an mRNA COVID vaccine. They used EHR data from 40 healthcare systems in PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network.

Researchers found that the chance of having heart problems is higher after having COVID than after getting an mRNA COVID vaccine for men and women in all age groups. The overall chance of having heart problems after having COVID or getting an mRNA COVID vaccine was very low across all ages and genders. These results support the continued use of mRNA COVID vaccines for all people who meet the vaccine criteria.

RECOVER researchers reviewed electronic health records (EHRs) of about 12 million adults and children who had a COVID test to look for new symptoms and health conditions that happened 1 to 5 months after the COVID test. They used EHR data from 40 healthcare systems in PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. Researchers compared new symptoms and health conditions in adults and children who did and didn’t have COVID (tested positive or negative) and whether they were hospitalized with COVID.

Researchers found that having COVID raised the chance of adults and children getting new symptoms and health conditions, especially trouble breathing, unusual heart rates, and type 2 diabetes. The chance of getting some new symptoms and conditions went up if they were hospitalized with COVID.

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