Authors: Raman B, Cassar MP, Tunnicliffe EM, Filippini N, Griffanti L, Okell T et al.

PMID: 33490928 PMCID: PMC7808914 DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100683


Background: The medium-term effects of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on organ health, exercise capacity, cognition, quality of life and mental health are poorly understood.

Methods: Fifty-eight COVID-19 patients post-hospital discharge and 30 age, sex, body mass index comorbidity-matched controls were enrolled for multiorgan (brain, lungs, heart, liver and kidneys) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spirometry, six-minute walk test, cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), quality of life, cognitive and mental health assessments.

Findings: At 2-3 months from disease-onset, 64% of patients experienced breathlessness and 55% reported fatigue. On MRI, abnormalities were seen in lungs (60%), heart (26%), liver (10%) and kidneys (29%). Patients exhibited changes in the thalamus, posterior thalamic radiations and sagittal stratum on brain MRI and demonstrated impaired cognitive performance, specifically in the executive and visuospatial domains. Exercise tolerance (maximal oxygen consumption and ventilatory efficiency on CPET) and six-minute walk distance were significantly reduced. The extent of extra-pulmonary MRI abnormalities and exercise intolerance correlated with serum markers of inflammation and acute illness severity. Patients had a higher burden of self-reported symptoms of depression and experienced significant impairment in all domains of quality of life compared to controls (p<0.0001 to 0.044). Interpretation: A significant proportion of patients discharged from hospital reported symptoms of breathlessness, fatigue, depression and had limited exercise capacity. Persistent lung and extra-pulmonary organ MRI findings are common in patients and linked to inflammation and severity of acute illness.[/fusion_text][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="" rule_size="" rule_color="" hue="" saturation="" lightness="" alpha="" content_alignment_medium="" content_alignment_small="" content_alignment="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" sticky_display="normal,sticky" class="" id="" margin_top="" margin_right="" margin_bottom="" margin_left="" fusion_font_family_text_font="" fusion_font_variant_text_font="" font_size="" line_height="" letter_spacing="" text_transform="" text_color="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_color="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_delay="0" animation_offset=""]Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Follow up; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Medium term; Mental health; Multiorgan effects; Post-hospital discharge; SARS-CoV-2 infection; Survivors.