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Impact of long COVID on health-related quality-of-life: an OpenSAFELY population cohort study using patient-reported outcome measures (OpenPROMPT)

We aimed to evaluate and estimate the differences in health impacts of long COVID across sociodemographic categories and quantify this in Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs), widely used measures across health systems.

The Lancet Regional Health Europe, 2024

Paper information

Authors
Citation
Carlile O, Briggs A, Henderson AD, et al. Impact of long COVID on health-related quality-of-life: an OpenSAFELY population cohort study using patient-reported outcome measures (OpenPROMPT). Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2024;40:100908. doi:10.1016/j.lanepe.2024.100908
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Background

Long COVID is a major problem affecting patient health, the health service, and the workforce. To optimise the design of future interventions against COVID-19, and to better plan and allocate health resources, it is critical to quantify the health and economic burden of this novel condition. We aimed to evaluate and estimate the differences in health impacts of long COVID across sociodemographic categories and quantify this in Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs), widely used measures across health systems.

Methods

With the approval of NHS England, we utilised OpenPROMPT, a UK cohort study measuring the impact of long COVID on health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL). OpenPROMPT invited responses to Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) using a smartphone application and recruited between November 2022 and October 2023. We used the validated EuroQol EQ-5D questionnaire with the UK Value Set to develop disutility scores (1-utility) for respondents with and without Long COVID using linear mixed models, and we calculated subsequent Quality-Adjusted Life-Months (QALMs) for long COVID.

Findings

The total OpenPROMPT cohort consisted of 7575 individuals who consented to data collection, with which we used data from 6070 participants who completed a baseline research questionnaire where 24.6% self-reported long COVID. In multivariable regressions, long COVID had a consistent impact on HRQoL, showing a higher likelihood or odds of reporting loss in quality-of-life (Odds Ratio (OR): 4.7, 95% CI: 3.72–5.93) compared with people who did not report long COVID. Reporting a disability was the largest predictor of losses of HRQoL (OR: 17.7, 95% CI: 10.37–30.33) across survey responses. Self-reported long COVID was associated with an 0.37 QALM loss.

Interpretation

We found substantial impacts on quality-of-life due to long COVID, representing a major burden on patients and the health service. We highlight the need for continued support and research for long COVID, as HRQoL scores compared unfavourably to patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, heart failure, and renal disease.