Background: This study sought to establish the long-term effects of Covid-19 following hospitalisation.
Methods: 327 hospitalised participants, with SARS-CoV-2 infection were recruited into a prospective multicentre cohort study at least 3 months post-discharge. The primary outcome was self-reported recovery at least ninety days after initial Covid-19 symptom onset. Secondary outcomes included new symptoms, disability (Washington group short scale), breathlessness (MRC Dyspnoea scale) and quality of life (EQ5D-5L).
Findings: 55% of participants reported not feeling fully recovered. 93% reported persistent symptoms, with fatigue the most common (83%), followed by breathlessness (54%). 47% reported an increase in MRC dyspnoea scale of at least one grade. New or worse disability was reported by 24% of participants. The EQ5D-5L summary index was significantly worse following acute illness (median difference 0.1 points on a scale of 0 to 1, IQR: -0.2 to 0.0). Females under the age of 50 years were five times less likely to report feeling recovered (adjusted OR 5.09, 95% CI 1.64 to 15.74), were more likely to have greater disability (adjusted OR 4.22, 95% CI 1.12 to 15.94), twice as likely to report worse fatigue (adjusted OR 2.06, 95% CI 0.81 to 3.31) and seven times more likely to become more breathless (adjusted OR 7.15, 95% CI 2.24 to 22.83) than men of the same age.
Interpretation: Survivors of Covid-19 experienced long-term symptoms, new disability, increased breathlessness, and reduced quality of life. These findings were present in young, previously healthy working age adults, and were most common in younger females.
Funding: National Institute for Health Research, UK Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- long-term outcomes
- quality of life
- post-acute Covid-19