Quality of life of COVID-19 critically ill survivors after ICU discharge: 90 days follow-up

Qual Life Res. 2021 Oct;30(10):2805-2817. doi: 10.1007/s11136-021-02865-7. Epub 2021 May 12.


Purpose: The onset of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic in Italy induced a dramatic increase in the need for intensive care unit (ICU) beds for a large proportion of patients affected by COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The aim of the present study was to describe the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at 90 days after ICU discharge in a cohort of COVID-19 patients undergoing invasive mechanical ventilation and to compare it with an age and sex-matched sample from the general Italian and Finnish populations. Moreover, the possible associations between clinical, demographic, social factors, and HRQoL were investigated.

Methods: COVID-19 ARDS survivors from 16 participating ICUs were followed up until 90 days after ICU discharge and the HRQoL was evaluated with the 15D instrument. A parallel cohort of age and sex-matched Italian population from the same geographic areas was interviewed and a third group of matched Finnish population was extracted from the Finnish 2011 National Health survey. A linear regression analysis was performed to evaluate potential associations between the evaluated factors and HRQoL.

Results: 205 patients answered to the questionnaire. HRQoL of the COVID-19 ARDS patients was significantly lower than the matched populations in both physical and mental dimensions. Age, sex, number of comorbidities, ARDS class, duration of invasive mechanical ventilation, and occupational status were found to be significant determinants of the 90 days HRQoL. Clinical severity at ICU admission was poorly correlated to HRQoL.

Conclusion: COVID-19-related ARDS survivors at 90 days after ICU discharge present a significant reduction both on physical and psychological dimensions of HRQoL measured with the 15D instrument.

Trial registration: NCT04411459.

Keywords: 15D instrument; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Health-related quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survivors*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04411459