AIMS: A novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in an ongoing global pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the outcomes of recovered patients have not been well defined .
METHODS: This is a prospective observational follow-up study of survivors with COVID-19 from a designated tertiary center in Hefei, China . We examined chest computed tomography (CT) scanning, pulmonary function , 6-min walk distance (6MWD), and 36 item Short Form General Health Survey (SF-36).
RESULTS: Among 81 enrolled patients , 62 (77 %) patients and 61 (75 %) patients, respectively, completed 1-month and 3-month follow-ups . Abnormal CT findings were still present in 73% of patients at 1 month and 54% at 3 months, whereas chest CT scan scores improved progressively at 1-month (5.0 ± 5.1) and 3-month follow up (3.0 ± 4.5) compared with that during hospitalization (11 ± 6.8). Mild restrictive pulmonary impairment was detected in 11% and 10% of patients at 1-month and 3-month follow up, respectively . The 6MWD was 523 ± 77 m in male patients and 484 ± 58 m in female patients, which was significantly lower than in healthy controls (606 ± 68 m , 568 ± 78 m, p <0.001). SF-36 scores were significantly impaired in the domains of role physical (RP), role emotional (RE), and social functioning (SF) compared with the normal age-matched population . RP was improved at 3-month compared with 1-month follow up in the 41-64 years group (p <0.01). Multivariable analysis showed that older age (over 40 years) and steroid administration during hospitalization were independently associated with worse chest CT scores at 3-month follow up .
CONCLUSIONS: At 3 months, chest CT abnormalities were present in one half of COVID-19 survivors and worse chest CT scores were independently associated with older age and steroid administration during hospitalization . Residual pulmonary function impairments were modest, whereas exercise capacity and SF-36 scores were significantly lower than the general population . Support program and further follow-up evaluations may be needed.The reviews of this paper are available via the supplemental material section.