J Intern Med - (-) - [2023-05-14; online 2023-05-14]
A significant proportion of COVID-19 patients experience debilitating symptoms for months after the acute infection. According to recent estimates, approximately 1 out of 10 COVID-19 convalescents reports persistent health issues more than 3 months after initial recovery. This 'post-COVID-19 condition' may include a large variety of symptoms from almost all domains and organs, and for some patients it may mean prolonged sick-leave, homestay and strongly limited activities of daily life. In this narrative review, we focus on the symptoms and signs of post-COVID-19 condition in adults - particularly those associated with cardiovascular and respiratory systems, such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or airway disorders - and explore the evidence for chronic autonomic dysfunction as a potential underlying mechanism. The most plausible hypotheses regarding cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the wide spectrum of observed symptoms - such as lingering viruses, persistent inflammation, impairment in oxygen sensing systems and circulating antibodies directed to blood pressure regulatory components - are discussed. In addition, an overview of currently available pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options is presented.