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 (< 0.5mg.kg -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.