Long Covid in adults discharged from UK hospitals after Covid-19: A prospective, multicentre cohort study using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol

ISARIC4C Investigators

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100186
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health Europe
Early online date6 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • long-term outcomes
  • quality of life
  • Covid-19
  • post-acute Covid-19
  • long-Covid
  • post-Covid
  • sequelae

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