Background and Aims
Extended hospitalization due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with residual musculoskeletal and functional deficits lasting even 6 months after discharge; therefore, it is crucial that post-hospitalized patients are promptly assessed. The aim of this study was to identify post-COVID-19 patients’ functional status and quality of life, as well as to investigate their inter-relatedness 2–3 weeks after hospital discharge.
The study included 39 post-COVID-19 patients previously hospitalized in the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo (UCCK) from August to December 2021. Physiotherapeutic assessment encompassed socio-demographic and clinical data including Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) for physical functional performance, hand grip strength, 6-min Walk Test (6MWT) for aerobic capacity and endurance, EuroQol 5-Dimension 5-Level (EQ-5D-5L) for quality of life, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain, Borg CR10 for dyspnea, peripheral oxygen saturation and heart rate. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation, and multiple linear regression analysis were utilized for data processing.
The median (interquartile range [IQR]) for Borg CR10, VAS pain scale, total SPPB, grip strength, and 6MWT were 1 (0–3), 3 (1–6), 9 (8–10), 30.5 (23.2–43.5) kg, 344.5 (312.7–381.7) m respectively, while the mean (SD) for EQ-5D-5L index value was 0.7 (0.2). The strongest and most significant correlation was depicted between SPPB total score and its subscales, followed by correlation with EQ-5D-5L (r = 0.719, p < 0.001), grip strength (r = 0.612 p < 0.001), Borg CR10 (r = −0.515, p = 0.001), 6MWT (r = 0.416, p = 0.02), and VAS scale (r = −0.343, p = 0.03). Using the multiple regression analysis, the grip strength, Borg-CR10, and 6MWT were found to be strongly predictive of SPPB total score.
In post-COVID-19 patients’ functional status and quality of life were impaired 2–3 weeks following hospitalization. SPPB showed the most frequent and significant correlation with other variables, hence it should be considered as one of the primary screening tools.