The long term effects of COVID-19

The long term effects of COVID-19
WHODAS Score and EQ-5D-5L Scale. a Comparison of WHODAS score at baseline and 6 months (p value from a mixed-effect quantile models considering a Τ = 0.50, an interior point algorithm, and including patients as random effect). b Proportion of patients who have died or who have developed no (WHODAS < 5%), mild (5% ≤ WHODAS < 25%), moderate (25% ≤ WHODAS < 50%) or severe (50% ≤ WHODAS < 96%) disability. P values for comparisons are shown in Table 2. c Comparison of health status using the EQ-VAS at baseline and 6 months (p value from a mixed-effect quantile models considering a Τ = 0.50, an interior point algorithm, and including patients as random effect). d the domains of the EQ5D-5L, including the proportion of patients who reported no problems with mobility, personal care, usual activities, pain/discomfort or anxiety/depression. Credit: DOI: 10.1186/s13054-021-03794-0

A recent Monash University study has found six months after recovering from COVID-19 critical illness, one in five people had died, and almost 40 percent of survivors had a new disability.

Led by Professor Carol Hodgson, the study looked at COVID-19 across Australia between March 6 and October 4, 2020, measuring mortality, new disability and return to work in people who had been admitted to intensive care units.

At six months, 43 of the 212 (20.3 percent) eligible patients had died, and 42 of the 108 (38.9 percent) surviving patients who responded to the study reported a new disability.

The study found 71.3 percent of surviving patients reported persistent symptoms such as shortness of breath, loss of strength, fatigue, headaches and loss of sense of smell and taste after recovering from the critical illness.

There was also a in health-related quality of life across all domains, but particular participants reported new problems with mobility (33.9 percent), usual activities (43.2 percent) and pain (34.2 percent), as well as (33.3 percent), and one fifth (20 percent) reporting anxiety (20.2 percent), depression (20 percent) and/or PTSD (18.4 percent). More than one in 10 survivors were unemployed due to poor health.

The findings are published in Critical Care today.

Professor Hodgson is Head of the Division of Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and Deputy Director, Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre, Monash University.

The study was embedded in the Short Period Incidence Study of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection trial (SPRINT-SARI) and was conducted at 30 intensive care units across Australia.

With a median age of 61, 58 percent of participants were male with comorbidity of diabetes or obesity. Fifty-seven percent received mechanical ventilation.

"Because COVID-19 is a new disease, the impact on long term outcomes in survivors is still emerging; however these findings suggest that patients should be screened at hospital discharge for new functional impairments, as the burden of new disability after critical illness with COVID-19 represents an urgent public health problem," Professor Hodgson said.

Sherene, a study participant and healthcare worker from Victoria, spent over a month in the hospital, including 16 days in a coma, departing the hospital in August 2020. Still is not well enough to return to work, and says the ongoing emotional and physical impact of COVID-19 has been frustrating to deal with.

"This virus has aged me 30 years, I am consistently reliant on family assistance to do even the simplest of tasks like cooking and household chores. Stretching to reach the bottom of the washing machine is too much," Sherene said.

"It's been almost a year and I'm still not back to my normal speedy, joyful pace of life pre-COVID."

Explore further

New symptoms, disability linger one month after COVID-19 discharge

More information: Carol L. Hodgson et al, The impact of COVID-19 critical illness on new disability, functional outcomes and return to work at 6 months: a prospective cohort study, Critical Care (2021). DOI: 10.1186/s13054-021-03794-0
Journal information: Critical Care

Provided by Monash University
Citation: The long term effects of COVID-19 (2021, November 9) retrieved 20 January 2022 from
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