IMAGE DESCRIPTION: An image with large bold wording 'Long Covid' with the virus spike protein image either side of the words. The title of the blog (top left) and the ME Association logo (bottom right)

Impact of Long Covid on health and quality of life


Background: The aim of this study was to measure the impact of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) on quality of life, mental health, ability to work and return to baseline health in an Irish cohort.

Methods: We invited individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 lasting more than 14 days to participate in an anonymous online questionnaire. Basic demographic data and self-reported symptoms were recorded. Internationally validated instruments including the patient health questionnaire somatic, anxiety and depressive symptom scales (PHQ-SADS), the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (PHQ-15) and Chadler fatigue scale (CFQ) were used.

Results: We analysed responses from 988 participants with self-reported confirmed (diagnostic/antibody positive; 81%) or suspected (diagnostic/antibody negative or untested; 9%) COVID-19. The majority of respondents were female (88%), white (98%), with a median age of 43.0 (range 15 – 88 years old) and a median BMI of 26.0 (range 16 – 60). At the time of completing this survey, 89% of respondents reported that they have not returned to their pre-COVID-19 level of health. The median number of symptoms reported was 8 (range 0 to 33 symptoms), with a median duration of 12 months (range 1 to 20 months) since time of acute infection. A high proportion of PASC patients reported that they have a moderate or severe limitation in their ability to carry out their usual activities, 38% report their ability to work is severely limited and 33% report a moderate, or higher, level of anxiety or depression.

Conclusion: The results of this survey of an Irish cohort with PASC are in line with reports from other settings, and we confirm that patients with PASC reported prolonged, multi-system symptoms which can significantly impact quality of life, affect ability to work and cause significant disability. Dedicated multidisciplinary, cross specialty supports are required to improve outcomes of this patient group.

MEA Comments

Dr Charles Shepherd, Honorary Medical Adviser to the ME Association comments:

There have also been a number of research studies confirming that ME/CFS has a very adverse effect on quality of life.

The effect on quality of life not only involves the person with ME/CFS – it also affects all the family members and anyone else involved in their care and support.

These studies are summarised and referenced in our recently updated information leaflet on Prognosis, Permanency and Quality of Life:

Prognosis, Permanency & Quality of Life

MEA website information on Prognosis and Quality of Life:

Prognosis and Quality of Life

Dr Charles Shepherd,
Trustee and
Hon. Medical Adviser
to the ME Association.
Member of the 2018-2021 NICE Guideline Committee.
Member of the 2002 Independent Working Group on ME/CFS.

Dr Charles Shepherd
Shopping Basket