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Muscle Nerve ; 64(4): 474-482, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1321702


INTRODUCTION: /AIMS: Patients with neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), including many elderly, immunosuppressed, and disabled individuals, may have been particularly affected during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Lombardy, a COVID-19 high-incidence area between February and May 2020. We aimed to evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the quality of life (QoL) and perceived disease burden of this group of patients. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional phone-based survey study between June 1 and June 14, 2020, on a sample of 240 NMD patients followed at our clinic in Milan, Italy. We asked about perceived NMD burden and QoL before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We collected responses on access to outpatient care and ancillary services. We investigated the presence of symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection and confirmed cases. RESULTS: We collected 205 responses: 53 patients (25.9%) reported a subjective worsening of the underlying NMD. QoL measures showed a significant worsening between pre and pandemic time frames (odds ratio, 2.14 95%; confidence interval, 1.82-2.51). Outpatient visits were postponed in more than half of cases (57.1%), with 104 patients (50.7%) experiencing a cancellation of scheduled diagnostic tests. 79 patients (38.5%) reported at least one symptom attributable to COVID-19 infection. Among the 10 patients tested with nasopharyngeal swabs, 6 tested positive and 3 died from respiratory failure, including 2 patients on corticosteroid/ immunosuppressive therapy. DISCUSSION: The COVID-19 pandemic affected QoL and limited access to outpatient care and ancillary services of NMD patients in Lombardy between February and May 2020.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Neuromuscular Diseases/epidemiology , Neuromuscular Diseases/psychology , Quality of Life/psychology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Neuromuscular Diseases/diagnosis , Surveys and Questionnaires