Health-Related Quality of Life in Survivors of Severe COVID-19 of a University Hospital in Northern Portugal

Joana Fernandes, Liliana Fontes, Isabel Coimbra, José Artur Paiva


Introduction: Long-term health impairments are often experienced among survivors of critical illness, which may have a negative impact on their quality of life. The aim of this study was to characterize COVID-19 survivors of critical illness and to evaluate health-related quality of life and disability following hospital discharge.
Material and Methods: This is a retrospective case-series study that included COVID-19 survivors admitted to the Intensive Care Medicine Department of a University Hospital. Follow-up evaluation was performed between the 30th and the 90th day after discharge. Quality of life was explored using the five-level version of the EQ-5D instrument (EQ-5D-5L) and functionality using the 12-question World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0).
Results: Forty-five survivors were enrolled, 28 (62.2%) men, median age 63.0 years. The EQ-5D-5L questionnaire showed moderate to extreme problems in some dimension in 29 patients (64.4%): mobility in six (13.3%), self-care in seven (13.3%), usual activities in 23 (51.1%), pain/discomfort in 14 (31.1%) and anxiety/depression in 17 (37.8%). When using the 12-question WHODAS 2.0 questionnaire, moderate to extreme disability was reported in some question in 37 patients (82.2%): 19 (42.2%) in standing for long periods, 18 (40.0%) in long-distance walking; 14 (31.1%) on taking care of household responsibilities and 17 (37.8%) in their day-to-day work; 23 (51.1%) felt emotionally affected by their health problems.
Discussion: Based on COVID-19 survivors-reported outcomes after critical illness, mobility, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression were the main problems that persisted one to three months after hospital discharge.
Conclusion: An organized follow-up structure is crucial to improve health-related quality of life in critical COVID-19 survivors.


COVID-19; Critical Care; Follow-up Studies; Portugal; Quality of Life; Survivors

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