Two-months quality of life of COVID-19 invasively ventilated survivors; an Italian single-center study

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2021 Aug;65(7):912-920. doi: 10.1111/aas.13812. Epub 2021 Mar 15.


Background: COVID-19 disease can lead to severe functional impairments after discharge. We assessed the quality of life of invasively ventilated COVID-19 ARDS survivors.

Methods: We carried out a prospective follow-up study of the patients admitted to the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of a teaching hospital. Patients affected by COVID-19 ARDS who required invasive ventilation and were successfully discharged home were assessed through the telephone administration of validated tests. We explored survival, functional outcomes, return to work, quality of life, cognitive and psychological sequelae. The main variables of interest were the following: demographics, severity scores, laboratory values, comorbidities, schooling, working status, treatments received during ICU stay, complications, and psychological, cognitive, functional outcomes.

Results: Out of 116 consecutive invasively ventilated patients, overall survival was 65/116 (56%) with no death occurring after hospital discharge. Forty-two patients were already discharged home with a median follow-up time of 61 (51-71) days after ICU discharge and 39 of them accepted to be interviewed. Only one patient (1/39) experienced cognitive decline. The vast majority of patients reported no difficulty in walking (32/35:82%), self-care (33/39:85%), and usual activities (30/39:78%). All patients were either malnourished (15/39:38%) or at risk for malnutrition (24/39:62%). Exertional dyspnea was present in 20/39 (51%) patients. 19/39 (49%) reported alterations in senses of smell and/or taste either before or after hospitalization.

Conclusions: Invasively ventilated COVID-19 ARDS survivors have an overall good recovery at a 2-months follow-up which is better than what was previously reported in non-COVID-19 ARDS patients.

Keywords: Acute respiratory distress syndrome; COVID-19; critically ill patients; follow-up; intensive care; quality-of-life.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*