Residual clinical damage after COVID-19: A retrospective and prospective observational cohort study

Rebecca De Lorenzo, Caterina Conte, Chiara Lanzani, Francesco Benedetti, Luisa Roveri, Mario G. Mazza, Elena Brioni, Giacomo Giacalone, Valentina Canti, Valentina Sofia, Marta D'Amico, Davide Di Napoli, Alberto Ambrosio, Paolo Scarpellini, Antonella Castagna, Giovanni Landoni, Alberto Zangrillo, Emanuele Bosi, Moreno Tresoldi, Fabio CiceriPatrizia Rovere-Querini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data on residual clinical damage after Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) are lacking. The aims of this study were to investigate whether COVID-19 leaves behind residual dysfunction, and identify patients who might benefit from post-discharge monitoring. All patients aged ≥18 years admitted to the Emergency Department (ED) for COVID-19, and evaluated at post-discharge follow-up between 7 April and 7 May, 2020, were enrolled. Primary outcome was need of follow-up, defined as the presence at follow-up of at least one among: Respiratory rate (RR) >20 breaths/min, uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) requiring therapeutic change, moderate to very severe dyspnoea, malnutrition, or new-onset cognitive impairment, according to validated scores. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) served as secondary outcome. 185 patients were included. Median [interquartile range] time from hospital discharge to follow-up was 23 [20-29] days. 109 (58.9%) patients needed follow-up. At follow-up evaluation, 58 (31.3%) patients were dyspnoeic, 41 (22.2%) tachypnoeic, 10 (5.4%) malnourished, 106 (57.3%) at risk for malnutrition. Forty (21.6%) patients had uncontrolled BP requiring therapeutic change, and 47 (25.4%) new-onset cognitive impairment. PTSD was observed in 41 (22.2%) patients. At regression tree analysis, the ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) and body mass index (BMI) at ED presentation, and age emerged as independent predictors of the need of followup. Patients with PaO2/FiO2 <324 and BMI ≥33 Kg/m2 had the highest odds to require follow- up. Among hospitalised patients, age ≥63 years, or age <63 plus non-invasive ventilation or diabetes identified those with the highest probability to need follow-up. PTSD was independently predicted by female gender and hospitalisation, the latter being protective (odds ratio, OR, 4.03, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.76 to 9.47, p 0.0011; OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.92, p 0.033, respectively). COVID-19 leaves behind physical and psychological dysfunctions. Follow-up programmes should be implemented for selected patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0239570
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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