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Sleep and Circadian Health of Critical Survivors: A 12-Month Follow-Up Study.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the sleep and circadian health of critical survivors 12 months after hospital discharge and to evaluate a possible effect of the severity of the disease within this context.

DESIGN: Observational, prospective study.

SETTING: Single-center study.

PATIENTS: Two hundred sixty patients admitted to the ICU due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection.

INTERVENTIONS: None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The cohort was composed of 260 patients (69.2% males), with a median (quartile 1-quartile 3) age of 61.5 years (52.0-67.0 yr). The median length of ICU stay was 11.0 days (6.00-21.8 d), where 56.2% of the patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) revealed that 43.1% of the cohort presented poor sleep quality 12 months after hospital discharge. Actigraphy data indicated an influence of the disease severity on the fragmentation of the circadian rest-activity rhythm at the 3- and 6-month follow-ups, which was no longer significant in the long term. Still, the length of the ICU stay and the duration of IMV predicted a higher fragmentation of the rhythm at the 12-month follow-up with effect sizes (95% CI) of 0.248 (0.078-0.418) and 0.182 (0.005-0.359), respectively. Relevant associations between the PSQI and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (rho = 0.55, anxiety; rho = 0.5, depression) as well as between the fragmentation of the rhythm and the diffusing lung capacity for carbon monoxide (rho = -0.35) were observed at this time point.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal a great prevalence of critical survivors presenting poor sleep quality 12 months after hospital discharge. Actigraphy data indicated the persistence of circadian alterations and a possible impact of the disease severity on the fragmentation of the circadian rest-activity rhythm, which was attenuated at the 12-month follow-up. This altogether highlights the relevance of considering the sleep and circadian health of critical survivors in the long term.

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