Objective: Identify prevalence of self-reported swallow, communication, voice and cognitive compromise following hospitalisation for COVID-19.

Design: Multicentre prospective observational cohort study using questionnaire data at visit 1 (2-7 months post discharge) and visit 2 (10-14 months post discharge) from hospitalised patients in the UK. Lasso logistic regression analysis was undertaken to identify associations.

Setting: 64 UK acute hospital Trusts.

Participants: Adults aged >18 years, discharged from an admissions unit or ward at a UK hospital with COVID-19.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported swallow, communication, voice and cognitive compromise.

Results: Compromised swallowing post intensive care unit (post-ICU) admission was reported in 20% (188/955); 60% with swallow problems received invasive mechanical ventilation and were more likely to have undergone proning (p=0.039). Voice problems were reported in 34% (319/946) post-ICU admission who were more likely to have received invasive (p<0.001) or non-invasive ventilation (p=0.001) and to have been proned (p<0.001). Communication compromise was reported in 23% (527/2275) univariable analysis identified associations with younger age (p<0.001), female sex (p<0.001), social deprivation (p<0.001) and being a healthcare worker (p=0.010). Cognitive issues were reported by 70% (1598/2275), consistent at both visits, at visit 1 respondents were more likely to have higher baseline comorbidities and at visit 2 were associated with greater social deprivation (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Swallow, communication, voice and cognitive problems were prevalent post hospitalisation for COVID-19, alongside whole system compromise including reduced mobility and overall health scores. Research and testing of rehabilitation interventions are required at pace to explore these issues.


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Cite as

Dawson, C., Clunie, G., Evison, F., Duncan, S., Whitney, J., Houchen-Wolloff, L., Bolton, C., Leavy, O., Richardson, M., Omer, E., McAuley, H., Shikotra, A., Singapuri, A., Sereno, M., Saunders, R., Harris, V., Nolan, C., Gower Wootton, D., Daynes, E., Donaldson, G., Sargent, J., Scott, J., Pimm, J., Bishop, L., McNarry, M., Hart, N., Evans, R., Singh, S., Yates, T., Chalder, T., Man, W., Harrison, E., Docherty, A., Lone, N., Quint, J., Chalmers, J., Ho, L., Horsley, A., Marks, M., Poinasamy, K., Raman, B., Wain, L., Brightling, C., Sharma, N., Coffey, M., Kulkarni, A., Wallace, S. & The PHOSP-COVID Collaborative Group 2023, 'Prevalence of swallow, communication, voice and cognitive compromise following hospitalisation for COVID-19: the PHOSP-COVID analysis', BMJ Open Respiratory Research, 10(1), article no: e001647. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjresp-2023-001647

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Last updated: 03 May 2024
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