To examine pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among SARS survivors.
We evaluated survivors with confirmed SARS at the Prince of Wales Hospital, HK, at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months after symptom onset. Our assessment included: lung volume (TLC, VC, RV, FRC), spirometry (FVC, FEV1), diffusing capacity (DLCO), 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), and HRQoL by SF-36 questionnaire.
86 patients completed the serial assessments. There were 27 males, 59 females, and half were healthcare workers with age 39.9(SD11.5) years and BMI 23.7(3.9) kg/m2. At 18 months, 8(9.3%), 3(3.5%), and 24 (27.9%) patients had FVC, TLC, and DLCO below 80% of predicted values respectively. The 6MWD at 18 months was 492.8(85.7)m, which was higher than at 3 months [452.9(80.7)m but not different from 12 months [494.8(85.4)m]. The 6MWD was lower than normal controls of the same age groups and there was impairment of HRQoL at 18 months. Patients who required ICU admission (n=20) showed lower % predicted DLCO than those who did not [78.1(21.1) vs 88.6(15.1), p=0.048] but there were no differences in 6MWD and health status.
Significant impairment in diffusing capacity was noted in 27.9% of survivors 18 months after illness onset. The exercise capacity and health status of SARS survivors was still remarkably lower than that of a normal population.
SARS causes significant long-term adverse impact on pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and quality of life among the survivors.
David Hui, Grant monies (from sources other than industry) Research Fund for the Control of Infectious Diseases (Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, HKSAR).