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Impact of post-COVID-19 condition on health status and activities of daily living: the PRIME post-COVID study.

Thorax 2024 March 19
OBJECTIVE: To assess health and activities of daily living (ADL) in SARS-CoV-2-positive adults with and without post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) and compare this with negative tested individuals. Furthermore, different PCC case definitions were compared with SARS-CoV-2-negative individuals.

METHODS: All adults tested PCR positive for SARS-CoV-2 at the Public Health Service South Limburg (Netherlands) between June 2020 and November 2021 (n=41 780) and matched PCR negative individuals (2:1, on age, sex, year-quarter test, municipality; n=19 875) were invited by email. Health (five-level EuroQol five-dimension (EQ5D) index and EuroQol visual analogue scale (EQVAS)) and ADL impairment were assessed. PCC classification was done using the WHO case definition and five other common definitions.

RESULTS: In total, 8409 individuals (6381 SARS-CoV-2 positive; 53±15 years; 57% female; 9 (7-11) months since test) were included. 39.4% of positives had PCC by the WHO case definition (EQVAS: 71±20; EQ5D index: 0.800±0.191; ADL impairment: 30 (10-70)%) and perceived worse health and more ADL impairment than negatives, that is, difference of -8.50 points (95% CI -9.71 to -7.29; p<0.001) for EQVAS, which decreased by 1.49 points (95% CI 0.86 to 2.12; p<0.001) in individuals with PCC for each comorbidity present, and differences of -0.065 points (95% CI -0.074 to -0.056; p<0.001) for EQ5D index, and +16.72% (95% CI 15.01 to 18.43; p<0.001) for ADL impairment. Health and ADL impairment were similar in negatives and positives without PCC. Replacing the WHO case definition with other PCC definitions yielded comparable results.

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with PCC have substantially worse health and more ADL impairment than negative controls, irrespective of the case definition. Authorities should inform the public about the associated burden of PCC and enable adequate support.

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