Outcomes among confirmed cases and a matched comparison group in the Long-COVID in Scotland study

Claire E. Hastie, David J. Lowe, Andrew McAuley, Andrew J. Winter, Nicholas L. Mills, Corri Black, Janet T. Scott, Catherine A. O'Donnell, David N. Blane, Susan Browne, Tracy R. Ibbotson, Jill P. Pell* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


With increasing numbers infected by SARS-CoV-2, understanding long-COVID is essential to inform health and social care support. A Scottish population cohort of 33,281 laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections and 62,957 never-infected individuals were followed-up via 6, 12 and 18-month questionnaires and linkage to hospitalization and death records. Of the 31,486 symptomatic infections,1,856 (6%) had not recovered and 13,350 (42%) only partially. No recovery was associated with hospitalized infection, age, female sex, deprivation, respiratory disease, depression and multimorbidity. Previous symptomatic infection was associated with poorer quality of life, impairment across all daily activities and 24 persistent symptoms including breathlessness (OR 3.43, 95% CI 3.29-3.58), palpitations (OR 2.51, OR 2.36-2.66), chest pain (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.96-2.23), and confusion (OR 2.92, 95% CI 2.78-3.07). Asymptomatic infection was not associated with adverse outcomes. Vaccination was associated with reduced risk of seven symptoms. Here we describe the nature of long-COVID and the factors associated with it.

In this population-based cohort study from Scotland, the authors investigate the prevalence of symptoms in the post-acute phase of COVID-19 infection compared to matched uninfected controls. They identify persistent symptoms associated with infection and identify factors associated with failure to recover.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5663
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022


  • Epidemiology
  • Risk factors
  • SARS-Cov-2


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