Data on residual clinical damage after Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) are lacking. The aims of this study were to investigate whether COVID-19 leaves behind residual dysfunction, and identify patients who might benefit from post-discharge monitoring. All patients aged ≥18 years admitted to the Emergency Department (ED) for COVID-19, and evaluated at post-discharge follow-up between 7 April and 7 May, 2020, were enrolled. Primary outcome was need of follow-up, defined as the presence at follow-up of at least one among: Respiratory rate (RR) >20 breaths/min, uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) requiring therapeutic change, moderate to very severe dyspnoea, malnutrition, or new-onset cognitive impairment, according to validated scores. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) served as secondary outcome. 185 patients were included. Median [interquartile range] time from hospital discharge to follow-up was 23 [20-29] days. 109 (58.9%) patients needed follow-up. At follow-up evaluation, 58 (31.3%) patients were dyspnoeic, 41 (22.2%) tachypnoeic, 10 (5.4%) malnourished, 106 (57.3%) at risk for malnutrition. Forty (21.6%) patients had uncontrolled BP requiring therapeutic change, and 47 (25.4%) new-onset cognitive impairment. PTSD was observed in 41 (22.2%) patients. At regression tree analysis, the ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) and body mass index (BMI) at ED presentation, and age emerged as independent predictors of the need of followup. Patients with PaO2/FiO2 <324 and BMI ≥33 Kg/m2 had the highest odds to require follow- up. Among hospitalised patients, age ≥63 years, or age <63 plus non-invasive ventilation or diabetes identified those with the highest probability to need follow-up. PTSD was independently predicted by female gender and hospitalisation, the latter being protective (odds ratio, OR, 4.03, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.76 to 9.47, p 0.0011; OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.92, p 0.033, respectively). COVID-19 leaves behind physical and psychological dysfunctions. Follow-up programmes should be implemented for selected patients.
De Lorenzo R.
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