In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0
Increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, continue to experience symptoms months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19. Amongst these symptoms, several are related to neurological manifestations, including fatigue, anosmia, hypogeusia, headaches and hypoxia. However, the involvement of the autonomic nervous system, expressed by a dysautonomia, which can aggregate all these neurological symptoms has not been prominently reported. Here, we hypothesize that dysautonomia, could occur in secondary COVID-19 infection, also referred to as "long COVID" infection. 39 participants were included from December 2020 to January 2021 for assessment by the Department of physical medicine to enhance their physical capabilities: 12 participants with COVID-19 diagnosis and fatigue, 15 participants with COVID-19 diagnosis without fatigue and 12 control participants without COVID-19 diagnosis and without fatigue. Heart rate variability (HRV) during a change in position is commonly measured to diagnose autonomic dysregulation. In this cohort, to reflect HRV, parasympathetic/sympathetic balance was estimated using the NOL index, a multiparameter artificial intelligence-driven index calculated from extracted physiological signals by the PMD-200 pain monitoring system. Repeated-measures mixed-models testing group effect were performed to analyze NOL index changes over time between groups. A significant NOL index dissociation over time between long COVID-19 participants with fatigue and control participants was observed (p = 0.046). A trend towards significant NOL index dissociation over time was observed between long COVID-19 participants without fatigue and control participants (p = 0.109). No difference over time was observed between the two groups of long COVID-19 participants (p = 0.904). Long COVID-19 participants with fatigue may exhibit a dysautonomia characterized by dysregulation of the HRV, that is reflected by the NOL index measurements, compared to control participants. Dysautonomia may explain the persistent symptoms observed in long COVID-19 patients, such as fatigue and hypoxia. Trial registration: The study was approved by the Foch IRB: IRB00012437 (Approval Number: 20-12-02) on December 16, 2020.
Barizien Nicolas, Le Guen Morgan, Russel Stéphanie, Touche Pauline, Huang Florent, Vallée Alexandre