Background: We aimed to compare the prevalence and severity of fatigue in survivors of Covid-19 versus non-Covid-19 critical illness, and to explore potential associations between baseline characteristics and worse recovery. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of two prospectively collected datasets. The population included was 92 patients who received invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) with Covid-19, and 240 patients who received IMV with non-Covid-19 illness before the pandemic. Follow-up data was collected post-hospital discharge using self-reported questionnaires. The main outcome measures were self-reported fatigue severity and the prevalence of severe fatigue (severity >7/10) 3 to 12-months post-hospital discharge. Results: Covid-19 IMV-patients were significantly younger with less prior comorbidity, and more males, than pre-pandemic IMV-patients. At 3-months, the prevalence (38.9% [7/18] vs. 27.1% [51/188]) and severity (median 5.5/10 vs. 5.0/10) of fatigue was similar between the Covid-19 and pre-pandemic populations respectively. At 6-months, the prevalence (10.3% [3/29] vs. 32.5% [54/166]) and severity (median 2.0/10 vs. 5.7/10) of fatigue was less in the Covid-19 cohort. In the total sample of IMV-patients included (i.e. all Covid-19 and pre- pandemic patients), having Covid-19 was significantly associated with less severe fatigue (severity <7/10) after adjusting for age, sex, and prior comorbidity (adjusted OR 0.35 (95%CI 0.15-0.76, p=0.01). Conclusion: Fatigue may be less severe after Covid-19 than after other critical illness.


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Pauley, E., Drake, T., Sigfrid, L., Lone, N., Harrison, E., Baillie, J., Scott, J., Walsh, T., Semple, M. & Docherty, A. 2021, 'Recovery from Covid-19 critical illness: a secondary analysis of the ISARIC4C CCP-UK cohort study and the RECOVER trial', Journal of the Intensive Care Society, 24 October 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/17511437211052226

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Last updated: 17 September 2022
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