What are possible risk factors?
It is most likely that the causes of the symptoms and medical conditions in Long Covid involve multiple factors. One potential mechanism is permanent organ damage such as fibrotic pulmonary changes. In an MRI study of the heart, myocardial changes were detected in a high proportion of patients as evidence of persistent myocarditis. Damage to the vascular system, brain and other organs is also described.
In pathophysiological terms, immune phenomena such as the development of auto-antibodies are also considered. A multicentre analysis accordingly demonstrated that about 50 % of the Covid inpatients had auto-antibodies. This share is typically around 15%.
Little is known so far about possible risk factors for the development of Long Covid symptoms. A study recently published in Nature Medicine had Covid-19 patients enter their symptoms into a study app. The following risk factors for the development of Long Covid were identified: