Purpose of review
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), can trigger a myriad of neuropsychiatric manifestations. As a 2-year-old disease (at the writing of this manuscript), its long-term cognitive and neuropsychiatric implications, known as post-COVID-19 conditions, are incompletely recognized and mechanistically obscure.
Fatigue, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and cognitive dysfunction are reported more frequently in COVID-19 survivors than in matching, non-COVID-19 population. Risk factors are unclear, including comorbidities, age at COVID-19 onset, or disease severity; women, however, have been reported to be at increased risk than men. Although the frequency of these symptoms decreases over time, at least one in five will have persistent cognitive and neuropsychiatric manifestations one year after recovering from COVID-19.
Neurocognitive and psychiatric post-COVID-19 long-term conditions are frequent and complex multifactorial sequelae. Several acute and chronic factors such as hypoxemia, cerebral thrombotic and inflammatory endothelial damage, and disruption of the blood-brain barrier (leading to parenchymal translocation of pro-inflammatory molecules, cytokines, and cytotoxic T lymphocytes) are involved, leading to microglial activation and astrogliosis. As an evolving topic, evidence derived from prospective studies will expand our understanding of post-COVID-19 these long-term outcomes.