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Original article

Vol. 151 No. 4950 (2021)

Symptoms and quality of life at 1-year follow up of patients discharged after an acute COVID-19 episode

  • Elena Tessitore
  • Sandra Handgraaf
  • Antoine Poncet
  • Maëlle Achard
  • Stefan Höfer
  • Sebastian Carballo
  • Christophe Marti
  • Cédric Follonier
  • François Girardin
  • François Mach
  • David Carballo
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w30093


AIM OF THE STUDY: Patients surviving COVID-19 have been described as being at risk of developing sequelae. We aimed to investigate and elicit persistent symptoms, emotional status and quality-of-life in patients discharged after an acute COVID-19 episode.

METHODS: Patient-reported outcome measures were collected during a telephone interview 30 days and 1 year after discharge. Patients' general health status was evaluated using questions based on their symptoms, emotional status was assessed using the items 9 to 12 of the HeartQoL questionnaire and quality of life was assessed at 1 year through the EQ-5D-5L. In patients with a history of cardiovascular disease, all 14 items of the HeartQoL questionnaire were completed to derive the HeartQoL global score.

RESULTS: Among 687 patients who survived after being hospitalised for COVID-19 at the University Hospitals of Geneva between 26 February and 26 April 2020, 184 (27%) and 165 (24%), respectively, participated in the follow-up at 30 days and 1 year. Of these 184 participants, 62% were male, median age was 58 years and 21% had a past medical history of cardiovascular disease. At one month after discharge, 61% (113/184) of patients presented fatigue and 28% (52/184) dyspnoea. One year after discharge, the main complaints were persistent fatigue in 27% (45/165) of patients, neurological problems in 17% (28/165) and dyspnoea in 14% (23/165). Eight percent  (14/184) of patients declared being significantly worried 1 month after discharge and 5% (9/184) feeling depressed. The number of patients reporting being significantly worried or depressed at 1 year was lower. Regarding the quality of life at 1 year, the median EQ-5D-5L visual analogue scale score was 80 (interquartile range 70–90).

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately half of patients reported some symptoms 1 year after discharge following an acute episode of COVID-19. The predominant symptom was persistent fatigue both at 1-month and at 1-year follow-up. Emotional status and quality of life appeared satisfactory. number: NCT04384029


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