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Clinical Investigations: INFECTION |

The 1-Year Impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome on Pulmonary Function, Exercise Capacity, and Quality of Life in a Cohort of Survivors*

David S. Hui, MD, FCCP; Ka T. Wong, FRCR; Fanny W. Ko, MBChB; Lai S. Tam, MBChB; Doris P. Chan, MSc; Jean Woo, MD; Joseph J.Y. Sung, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (Drs. Hui and Sung), Departments of Medicine and Therapeutics (Drs. Ko, Woo, and Tam), and Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging (Ms. Chan and Dr. Wong), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong.

Correspondence to: David S. Hui, MD, FCCP, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing St, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong; e-mail: dschui@cuhk.edu.hk



Chest. 2005;128(4):2247-2261. doi:10.1378/chest.128.4.2247
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Objective: To examine pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) survivors.

Methods: We evaluated survivors with confirmed SARS at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, at 3, 6, and 12 months after symptom onset. Our assessment included: lung volume (total lung capacity [TLC], vital capacity, residual volume, functional residual capacity), spirometry (FVC, FEV1), diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (Dlco), inspiratory and expiratory respiratory muscle strength, 6-min walk distance (6MWD), chest radiographs (CXRs), and HRQoL by Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form General Health Survey questionnaire.

Results: Ninety-seven patients completed the serial assessments. There were 39 male and 58 female patients, and 63 patients (70%) were health-care workers (mean age, 36.9 years [SD, 9.5 years]; body mass index, 23.7 kg/m2 [SD, 4.0 kg/m2]). At 1 year, 27 patients (27.8%) had abnormal CXR findings. Four patients (4.1%), 5 patients (5.2%), and 23 patients (23.7%) had FVC, TLC, and Dlco values < 80% of predicted values, respectively. The 6MWD at 12 months was 511.0 m (SD, 89.8 m), which was higher than at 3 months (mean difference, 47.0 m; 95% confidence interval [CI], 31.8 to 62.1 m; p < 0.01) but not different from 6 months (mean difference, 9.7 m; 95% CI, − 4.4 to 23.8 m; p = 0.18). The 6MWD was lower than that for normal control subjects of the same age groups, and there was impairment of HRQoL at 12 months. Patients who required ICU admission (n = 31) showed higher CXR scores (1.6 [SD, 3.1]; vs 0.4 [SD, 1.1]; p = 0.04) and lower percentage of predicted FVC, TLC, and Dlco than those who did not, but there were no differences in 6MWD and health status.

Conclusion: Significant impairment in Dlco was noted in 23.7% of survivors 1 year after illness onset. Exercise capacity and health status of SARS survivors were remarkably lower than those of a normal population.

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