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Original article

Vol. 151 No. 4142 (2021)

Long COVID 1 year after hospitalisation for COVID-19: a prospective bicentric cohort study

  • Christoph Becker
  • Katharina Beck
  • Samuel Zumbrunn
  • Valentina Memma
  • Naemi Herzog
  • Benjamin Bissmann
  • Sebastian Gross
  • Nina Loretz
  • Jonas Mueller
  • Simon A. Amacher
  • Chantal Bohren
  • Rainer Schaefert
  • Stefano Bassetti
  • Christoph Fux
  • Beat Mueller
  • Philipp Schuetz
  • Sabina Hunziker
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w30091


AIMS OF THE STUDY: There is increasing interest in better understanding of long COVID, a condition characterised by long-term sequelae — appearing or persisting after the typical convalescence period — of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Herein, we describe long-term outcomes regarding residual symptoms and psychological distress in hospitalised patients 1 year after COVID-19.

METHODS: This prospective cohort study included consecutive adult patients hospitalised for confirmed COVID-19 in two Swiss tertiary-care hospitals between March and June 2020. The primary endpoint was evidence of long COVID 1 year after discharge, defined as ≥1 persisting or new symptom related to COVID-19, from a predefined list of symptoms. Secondary endpoints included psychological distress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

RESULTS: Among 90 patients included in the study, 63 (70%) had symptoms of long COVID 1 year after hospitalisation, particularly fatigue (46%), concentration difficulties (31%), shortness of breath (21%) and post-exertion malaise (20%). Three predictors, namely duration of hospitalisation (odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00–1.22; p = 0.041), severity of illness (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.04–1.37; p = 0.013), and self-perceived overall health status 30 days after hospitalisation (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.94–1.00; p = 0.027) were associated with long COVID. Regarding secondary endpoints, 16 (18%) experienced psychological distress and 3 (3.3%) patients had symptoms of PTSD.

CONCLUSION: A high proportion of COVID-19 patients report symptoms of long COVID 1 year after hospitalisation, which negatively affects their quality of life. The most important risk factors were severe initial presentation of COVID-19 with long hospital stays.


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