Patients with and Without COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit: Physical Status Outcome Comparisons 3 Months after Discharge

Bastiaan Cijs, Karin Valkenet, Germijn Heijnen, J M Anne Visser-Meily, Marike Van Der Schaaf

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Abstract

Objective

Many patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). Physical impairments are common after ICU stays and are associated with clinical and patient characteristics. To date, it is unknown if physical functioning and health status are comparable between patients in the ICU with COVID-19 and patients in the ICU without COVID-19 3 months after ICU discharge. The primary objective of this study was to compare handgrip strength, physical functioning, and health status between patients in the ICU with COVID-19 and patients in the ICU without COVID-19 3 months after ICU discharge. The second objective was to identify factors associated with physical functioning and health status in patients in the ICU with COVID-19. 

Methods 

In this observational, retrospective chart review study, handgrip strength (handheld dynamometer), physical functioning (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Physical Function), and health status (EuroQol 5 Dimension 5 Level) were compared between patients in the ICU with COVID-19 and patients in the ICU without COVID-19 using linear regression. Multilinear regression analyses were used to investigate whether age, sex, body mass index, comorbidities in medical history (Charlson Comorbidity Index), and premorbid function illness (Identification of Seniors At Risk-Hospitalized Patients) were associated with these parameters in patients in the ICU with COVID-19. 

Results 

In total, 183 patients (N = 92 with COVID-19) were included. No significant between-group differences were found in handgrip strength, physical functioning, and health status 3 months after ICU discharge. The multilinear regression analyses showed a significant association between sex and physical functioning in the COVID-19 group, with better physical functioning in men compared with women. 

Conclusion 

Current findings suggest that handgrip strength, physical functioning, and health status are comparable for patients who were in the ICU with COVID-19 and patients who were in the ICU without COVID-19 3 months after ICU discharge. 

Impact 

Aftercare in primary or secondary care in the physical domain of postintensive care syndrome after ICU discharge in patients with COVID-19 and in patients without COVID-19 who had an ICU length of stay >48 hours is recommended. 

Lay Summary 

Patients who were in the ICU with and without COVID-19 had a lower physical status and health status than healthy people, thus requiring personalized physical rehabilitation. Outpatient aftercare is recommended for patients with an ICU length of stay >48 hours, and functional assessment is recommended 3 months after hospital discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpzad039
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Therapy
Volume103
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

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