The impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome on the physical profile and quality of life

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Jun;86(6):1134-40. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.09.025.


Objective: To investigate the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on the physical fitness and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among SARS survivors.

Design: A cohort study.

Setting: An outpatient physiotherapy department in a major hospital in Hong Kong.

Participants: SARS patients (N=171) discharged from the hospital. Their mean age was 37.36+/-12.65 years, and the average number of days of hospitalization was 21.79+/-9.93 days.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Subjects cardiorespiratory (6-minute walk test [6MWT], Chester step test for predicting maximal oxygen uptake [Vo 2 max]), musculoskeletal (proximal/distal muscle strength and endurance test), and HRQOL status (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey [SF-36]) were measured and compared with the normative data matched for age and sex.

Results: Seventy-eight (45.61%) patients continued to require prednisolone (< -1 .d -1 ) for residual lung opacities when data were collected. The values of 6MWT distance, predicted Vo 2 max, proximal and distal muscle strength, and the scores from all SF-36 domains, particularly perceived role-physical, were significantly lower than the normative data ( P <.05).

Conclusions: SARS survivors had deficits in cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal performance, and their HRQOL appeared to be significantly impaired.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisolone