BMJ Open. 2021 Jun 2;11(6):e049488. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-049488.
OBJECTIVE: To characterise the long-term outcomes of patients with COVID-19 admitted to a large New York City medical centre at 3 and 6 months after hospitalisation and describe their healthcare usage, symptoms, morbidity and mortality.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort through manual chart review of the electronic medical record.
SETTING: NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, a quaternary care academic medical centre in New York City.
PARTICIPANTS: The first 1190 consecutive patients with symptoms of COVID-19 who presented to the hospital for care between 1 March and 8 April 2020 and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on reverse transcriptase PCR assay.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Type and frequency of follow-up encounters, self-reported symptoms, morbidity and mortality at 3 and 6 months after presentation, respectively; patient disposition information prior to admission, at discharge, and at 3 and 6 months after hospital presentation.
RESULTS: Of the 1190 reviewed patients, 929 survived their initial hospitalisation and 261 died. Among survivors, 570 had follow-up encounters (488 at 3 months and 364 at 6 months). An additional 33 patients died in the follow-up period. In the first 3 months after admission, most encounters were telehealth visits (59%). Cardiopulmonary symptoms (35.7% and 28%), especially dyspnoea (22.1% and 15.9%), were the most common reported symptoms at 3-month and 6-month encounters, respectively. Additionally, a large number of patients reported generalised (26.4%) or neuropsychiatric (24.2%) symptoms 6 months after hospitalisation. Patients with severe COVID-19 were more likely to have reduced mobility, reduced independence or a new dialysis requirement in the 6 months after hospitalisation.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 infection reported persistent symptoms up to 6 months after diagnosis. These results highlight the long-term morbidity of COVID-19 and its burden on patients and healthcare resources.