Publication Date



JAMA Network Open


IMPORTANCE: Individuals who survived COVID-19 often report persistent symptoms, disabilities, and financial consequences. However, national longitudinal estimates of symptom burden remain limited.

OBJECTIVE: To measure the incidence and changes over time in symptoms, disability, and financial status after COVID-19-related hospitalization.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A national US multicenter prospective cohort study with 1-, 3-, and 6-month postdischarge visits was conducted at 44 sites participating in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury Network's Biology and Longitudinal Epidemiology: COVID-19 Observational (BLUE CORAL) study. Participants included hospitalized English- or Spanish-speaking adults without severe prehospitalization disabilities or cognitive impairment. Participants were enrolled between August 24, 2020, and July 20, 2021, with follow-up occurring through March 30, 2022.

EXPOSURE: Hospitalization for COVID-19 as identified with a positive SARS-CoV-2 molecular test.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: New or worsened cardiopulmonary symptoms, financial problems, functional impairments, perceived return to baseline health, and quality of life. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with new cardiopulmonary symptoms or financial problems at 6 months.

RESULTS: A total of 825 adults (444 [54.0%] were male, and 379 [46.0%] were female) met eligibility criteria and completed at least 1 follow-up survey. Median age was 56 (IQR, 43-66) years; 253 (30.7%) participants were Hispanic, 145 (17.6%) were non-Hispanic Black, and 360 (43.6%) were non-Hispanic White. Symptoms, disabilities, and financial problems remained highly prevalent among hospitalization survivors at month 6. Rates increased between months 1 and 6 for cardiopulmonary symptoms (from 67.3% to 75.4%; P = .001) and fatigue (from 40.7% to 50.8%; P < .001). Decreases were noted over the same interval for prevalent financial problems (from 66.1% to 56.4%; P < .001) and functional limitations (from 55.3% to 47.3%; P = .004). Participants not reporting problems at month 1 often reported new symptoms (60.0%), financial problems (23.7%), disabilities (23.8%), or fatigue (41.4%) at month 6.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this cohort study of people discharged after COVID-19 hospitalization suggest that recovery in symptoms, functional status, and fatigue was limited at 6 months, and some participants reported new problems 6 months after hospital discharge.


Humans, Male, Female, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Cohort Studies, Prospective Studies, Quality of Life, Aftercare, Patient Discharge



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