Physical, cognitive, and mental health impacts of COVID-19 after hospitalisation (PHOSP-COVID): a UK multicentre, prospective cohort study

PHOSP-COVID Collaborative Group, Rachael A. Evans, Hamish McAuley, Ewen M. Harrison, Aarti Shikotra, Amisha Singapuri, Marco Sereno, Omer Elneima, Annemarie B. Docherty, Nazir I. Lone, Olivia C. Leavy, Luke Daines, J. Kenneth Baillie, Jeremy S. Brown, Trudie Chalder, Anthony De Soyza, Nawar Diar Bakerly, Nicholas Easom, John R. Geddes, Neil J. GreeningNick Hart, Liam G. Heaney, Simon Heller, Luke Howard, John R. Hurst, Joseph Jacob, R. Gisli Jenkins, Caroline Jolley, Steven Kerr, Onn M. Kon, Keir Lewis, Janet M. Lord, Gerry P. McCann, Stefan Neubauer, Peter J. M. Openshaw, Dhruv Parekh, Paul Pfeffer, Najib M. Rahman, Betty Raman, Matthew Richardson, Matthew Rowland, Malcolm G. Semple, Ajay M Shah, Sally J. Singh, Aziz Sheikh, David Thomas, Mark Toshner, James D. Chalmers, Ling-Pei Ho, Alex Horsley, Michael Marks, Krisnah Poinasamy, Louise V. Wain, Christopher E. Brightling (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    Background: The impact of COVID-19 on physical and mental health and employment after hospitalisation with acute disease is not well understood. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of COVID-19-related hospitalisation on health and employment, to identify factors associated with recovery, and to describe recovery phenotypes.

    Methods: The Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID) is a multicentre, long-term follow-up study of adults (aged ≥18 years) discharged from hospital in the UK with a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19, involving an assessment between 2 and 7 months after discharge, including detailed recording of symptoms, and physiological and biochemical testing. Multivariable logistic regression was done for the primary outcome of patient-perceived recovery, with age, sex, ethnicity, body-mass index, comorbidities, and severity of acute illness as covariates. A post-hoc cluster analysis of outcomes for breathlessness, fatigue, mental health, cognitive impairment, and physical performance was done using the clustering large applications k-medoids approach. The study is registered on the ISRCTN Registry (ISRCTN10980107).

    Findings: We report findings for 1077 patients discharged from hospital between March 5 and Nov 30, 2020, who underwent assessment at a median of 5·9 months (IQR 4·9–6·5) after discharge. Participants had a mean age of 58 years (SD 13); 384 (36%) were female, 710 (69%) were of white ethnicity, 288 (27%) had received mechanical ventilation, and 540 (50%) had at least two comorbidities. At follow-up, only 239 (29%) of 830 participants felt fully recovered, 158 (20%) of 806 had a new disability (assessed by the Washington Group Short Set on Functioning), and 124 (19%) of 641 experienced a health-related change in occupation. Factors associated with not recovering were female sex, middle age (40–59 years), two or more comorbidities, and more severe acute illness. The magnitude of the persistent health burden was substantial but only weakly associated with the severity of acute illness. Four clusters were identified with different severities of mental and physical health impairment (n=767): very severe (131 patients, 17%), severe (159, 21%), moderate along with cognitive impairment (127, 17%), and mild (350, 46%). Of the outcomes used in the cluster analysis, all were closely related except for cognitive impairment. Three (3%) of 113 patients in the very severe cluster, nine (7%) of 129 in the severe cluster, 36 (36%) of 99 in the moderate cluster, and 114 (43%) of 267 in the mild cluster reported feeling fully recovered. Persistently elevated serum C-reactive protein was positively associated with cluster severity.

    Interpretation: We identified factors related to not recovering after hospital admission with COVID-19 at 6 months after discharge (eg, female sex, middle age, two or more comorbidities, and more acute severe illness), and four different recovery phenotypes. The severity of physical and mental health impairments were closely related, whereas cognitive health impairments were independent. In clinical care, a proactive approach is needed across the acute severity spectrum, with interdisciplinary working, wide access to COVID-19 holistic clinical services, and the potential to stratify care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1275-1287
    Number of pages13
    JournalThe Lancet Respiratory Medicine
    Issue number11
    Early online date7 Oct 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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