Background: COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a global cause of morbidity and mortality currently. We aim to describe the acute functional outcomes of critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients after transferring out of the intensive care unit (ICU). Methods: 51 consecutive critically ill COVID-19 patients at a national designated center for COVID-19 were included in this exploratory, retrospective observational cohort study from January 1 to May 31, 2020. Demographic and clinical data were collected and analyzed. Functional outcomes were measured primarily with the Functional Ambulation Category (FAC), and divided into 2 categories: dependent ambulators (FAC 0-3) and independent ambulators (FAC 4-5). Multivariate analysis was performed to determine associations. Results: Many patients were dependent ambulators (47.1%) upon transferring out of ICU, although 92.2% regained independent ambulation at discharge. On multivariate analysis, we found that a Charlson Comorbidity Index of 1 or more (odds ratio 14.02, 95% CI 1.15-171.28, P = 0.039) and a longer length of ICU stay (odds ratio 1.50, 95% CI 1.04-2.16, P = 0.029) were associated with dependent ambulation upon discharge from ICU. Conclusions: Critically ill COVID-19 survivors have a high level of impairment following discharge from ICU. Such patients should be screened for impairment and managed appropriately by rehabilitation professionals, so as to achieve good functional outcomes on discharge.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; acute respiratory distress syndrome; coronavirus; critical illness; dependent ambulation; dyspnea; intensive care units; muscle weakness.
Copyright © 2021 Tay, Ong, Puah and Tham.