COVID-19: Patient Characteristics in the First Phase of Postintensive Care Rehabilitation

Carolina M H Wiertz*, Wouter A J Vints, Geert J C M Maas, Sascha M C Rasquin, Yvette Y van Horn, Martijn P M Dremmen, Bena Hemmen, Jeanine A Verbunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To describe clinical characteristics of patients after intensive care unit (ICU) treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who were admitted for inpatient rehabilitation.

Design: A cross-sectional design.

Setting: Inpatient rehabilitation care in the Netherlands.

Participants: All post-ICU patients with COVID-19 admitted to the rehabilitation center between April 2 and May 13, 2020, were invited to participate in the study. Included were patients older than 18 years needing inpatient rehabilitation after ICU treatment for COVID-19 (N=60; mean age, 59.9y; 75% male).

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measures: The following information was collected in the first week of inpatient rehabilitation care: (1) demographics; (2) ICU stay parameters; (3) medical, physical, and functional characteristics; and (4) self-reported symptoms.

Results: The most important findings for rehabilitation were the following: in the first week after discharge to the rehabilitation center, 38.3% of all patients experienced exercise-induced oxygen desaturation, in 72.7% muscle weakness was present in all major muscle groups, and 21.7% had a reduced mobility in 1 or both shoulders. Furthermore 40% had dysphagia, and 39.2% reported symptoms of anxiety.

Conclusion: Post-ICU patients with COVID-19 display physical and anxiety symptoms as reported in other post-ICU patient groups. However, this study showed some remarkable clinical characteristics of post-ICU patients with COVID-19. Rehabilitation programs need to anticipate on this. Long-term follow-up studies are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100108
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalArchives of rehabilitation research and clinical translation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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