Respiratory medicine and research, Volume 82, 17 3 2022, Pages 100973 Fibrotic-like abnormalities notably prevalent one year after hospitalization with COVID-19. van Raaij BFM, Stöger JL, Hinnen C, Penfornis KM, de Jong CMM, Klok FA, Roukens AHE, Veldhuijzen DS, Arbous MS, Noordam R, Marges ER, Geelhoed JJM
We investigated whether COVID-19 leads to persistent impaired pulmonary function, fibrotic-like abnormalities or psychological symptoms 12 months after discharge and whether severely ill patients (ICU admission) recover differently than moderately ill patients.
This single-centre cohort study followed adult COVID-19 survivors for a period of one year after discharge. Patients underwent pulmonary function tests 6 weeks, 3 months and 12 months after discharge and were psychologically evaluated at 6 weeks and 12 months. Computed tomography (CT) was performed after 3 months and 12 months.
66 patients were analysed, their median age was 60.5 (IQR: 54-69) years, 46 (70%) patients were male. 38 (58%) patients had moderate disease and 28 (42%) patients had severe disease. Most patients had spirometric values within normal range after 12 months of follow-up. 12 (23%) patients still had an impaired lung diffusion after 12 months. Impaired pulmonary diffusion capacity was associated with residual CT abnormalities (OR 5.1,CI-95: 1.2-22.2), shortness of breath (OR 7.0, CI-95: 1.6-29.7) and with functional limitations (OR 5.8, CI-95: 1.4-23.8). Ground-glass opacities resolved in most patients during follow-up. Resorption of reticulation, bronchiectasis and curvilinear bands was rare and independent of disease severity. 81% of severely ill patients and 37% of moderately ill patients showed residual abnormalities after 12 months (OR 8.1, CI-95: 2.5-26.4). A minority of patients had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and cognitive failure during follow-up.
Some patients still had impaired lung diffusion 12 months after discharge and fibrotic-like residual abnormalities were notably prevalent, especially in severely ill patients.