Symptoms following acute COVID-19 infection are common, but their relationship to initial COVID-19 severity is unclear. We hypothesize that residual symptoms are related to disease severity, and severe acute COVID-19 infection is more likely to cause residual pulmonary damage. This study aims to evaluate symptoms, lung function, and abnormal imaging within 3 months following COVID-19 infection, and to determine whether they are related to initial disease severity. A cross-sectional study was carried out at a designated post-COVID clinic in Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel. Patients with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated within 12 weeks following infection and included both admitted and non-admitted subjects. All study participants underwent assessment of symptoms, quality of life (SGRQ), pulmonary function tests, and imaging. A total of 208 patients (age 49.3 ± 16 years) were included in the study. Initial disease severity was mild in 86, moderate in 49, and severe in 73 patients. At the time of follow-up, there were no differences in frequency of residual symptoms or in SGRQ score between groups. Patients with severe COVID-19 were more likely to have residual dyspnea (p = 0.04), lower oxygen saturation (p < 0.01), lower FVC and TLC (p < 0.001, p = 0.03 respectively), abnormal CXR (p < 0.01), and abnormal CT scan (p < 0.01) compared to other groups.Frequency of symptoms and impairment of quality of life at 12 week follow-up are common and are not related to severity of initial COVID-19 disease. In contrast, reduced lung function and abnormal pulmonary imaging are more common in patients with more severe acute COVID-19 infection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
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© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Società Italiana di Medicina Interna (SIMI).
- Pulmonary function