BACKGROUND: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) impairment is often reported among COVID-19 ICU survivors, and little is known about their long-term outcomes. We evaluated the HRQoL trajectories between 3 months and 1 year after ICU discharge, the factors influencing these trajectories and the presence of clusters of HRQoL profiles in a population of COVID-19 patients who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Moreover, pathophysiological correlations of residual dyspnea were tested. METHODS: We followed up 178 survivors from 16 Italian ICUs up to one year after ICU discharge. HRQoL was investigated through the 15D instrument. Available pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and chest CT scans at 1 year were also collected. A linear mixed-effects model was adopted to identify factors associated with different HRQoL trajectories and a two-step cluster analysis was performed to identify HRQoL clusters. RESULTS: We found that HRQoL increased during the study period, especially for the significant increase of the physical dimensions, while the mental dimensions and dyspnea remained substantially unchanged. Four main 15D profiles were identified: full recovery (47.2%), bad recovery (5.1%) and two partial recovery clusters with mostly physical (9.6%) or mental (38.2%) dimensions affected. Gender, duration of IMV and number of comorbidities significantly influenced HRQoL trajectories. Persistent dyspnea was reported in 58.4% of patients, and weakly, but significantly, correlated with both DLCO and length of IMV. CONCLUSIONS: HRQoL impairment is frequent 1 year after ICU discharge, and the lowest recovery is found in the mental dimensions. Persistent dyspnea is often reported and weakly correlated with PFTs alterations. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04411459.
Subject(s)COVID-19/epidemiology , Intensive Care Units , Quality of Life , Respiration, Artificial , Respiratory Function Tests , Aged , Dyspnea/epidemiology , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Discharge , Prospective Studies , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/epidemiology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/therapy , Survivors
Only a few earlier clinical radiologic reports exist describing post-COVID-19 pulmonary fibrosis. We report a case of 74-year-old woman referred with dizziness and hypoxemic respiratory failure with chest high resolution computer tomography (HRCT) showing ground glass opacities and emphysema. The patient was tested for Sars-CoV-2 and resulted positive, she was treated with medical therapy and supported with mechanical ventilation. Despite initial clinical and radiological improvements, subsequently the respiratory failure worsened as ground glass opacities evolved, with the appearance of combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema and the patient eventually died. Development of pulmonary fibrosis after SARS-CoV-2 infection and the overlap with preexistent emphysema could be a fatal complication.