Long-term cognitive and functional status in Danish ICU patients with COVID-19

Sarah Weihe*, Camilla B. Mortensen, Nicolai Haase, Lars P.K. Andersen, Thomas Mohr, Hanna Siegel, Michael Ibsen, Vibeke R. L. Jørgensen, David L. Buck, Helle B.S. Pedersen, Henrik P. Pedersen, Susanne Iversen, Niels Ribergaard, Bodil S. Rasmussen, Robert Winding, Ulrick S. Espelund, Helle Bundgaard, Christoffer G. Sølling, Steffen Christensen, Ricardo S. GarciaAnne C. Brøchner, Jens Michelsen, George Michagin, Lynge Kirkegaard, Anders Perner, Ole Mathiesen, Lone M. Poulsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: ICU admission due to COVID-19 may result in cognitive and physical impairment. We investigated the long-term cognitive and physical status of Danish ICU patients with COVID-19. Methods: We included all patients with COVID-19 admitted to Danish ICUs between March 10 and May 19, 2020. Patients were the contacted prospectively at 6 and 12 months for follow-up. Our primary outcomes were cognitive function and frailty at 6 and 12 months after ICU admission, estimated by the Mini Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and the Clinical Frailty Scale. Secondary outcomes were 6- and 12-month mortality, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) assessed by EQ-5D-5L, functional status (Barthel activities of daily living and Lawton–Brody instrumental activities of daily living), and fatigue (Fatigue Assessment Scale). The study had no information on pre-ICU admission status for the participants. Results: A total of 326 patients were included. The 6- and 12-month mortality was 37% and 38%, respectively. Among the 204 six-month survivors, 105 (51%) participated in the 6-month follow-up; among the 202 twelve-month survivors, 95 (47%) participated in the 12-month follow-up. At 6 months, cognitive scores indicated impairment for 26% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.4–12.4) and at 12 months for 17% (95% CI, 12.0–12.8) of participants. Frailty was indicated in 20% (95% CI, 3.4–3.9) at 6 months, and for 18% (95% CI, 3.3–3.8) at 12 months. Fatigue was reported by 52% at 6 months, and by 47% at 12 months. For HRQoL, moderate, severe, or extreme health problems were reported by 28% at 6 months, and by 25% at 12 months. Conclusion: Long-term cognitive, functional impairment was found in up to one in four of patients surviving intensive care for COVID-19. Fatigue was present in nearly half the survivors at both 6 and 12 months. However, pre-ICU admission status of the patients was unknown.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)978-986
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • cognitive
  • covid-19
  • fatigue
  • follow-up
  • frailty
  • functional
  • intensive care


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