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Novel scoring tool for post-COVID syndrome aids clinicians and researchers

Presented By
Prof. Thomas Bahmer, University of Kiel, Germany
ERS 2022

A post-COVID syndrome (PCS) scoring tool was developed, including the entire clinical spectrum of PCS in 12 binary questions. The tool was validated and could potentially be used for the diagnosis and stratification of patients with PCS. Also, the scoring tool could serve as a possible endpoint for clinical studies.

PCS is characterised by the persistence of symptoms for more than 3 months or the post-acute onset of symptoms, and/or the deterioration of pre-existing comorbidities [1]. “There is however no efficient scoring tool to diagnose PCS and to stratify the severity of the disease,” according to Prof. Thomas Bahmer (University of Kiel, Germany) [2]. The COVIDOM population-based cohort study aimed to develop a PCS scoring tool [2,3].

In total, 667 patients with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections were included in the training cohort, and 459 and 316 patients were included in 2 validation cohorts. Standardised interviews and on-site examinations 6 and 12 months post-infection were conducted to gather information on symptoms of PCS. Based on 12 long-term symptom complexes, such as fatigue, cough/wheezing, neurological ailments, and joint and muscle pain, the authors designed a PCS scoring tool with weighted PCS scores for different symptoms (see Table).

Table: Weighted post-COVID syndrome scoring tool [2]

Notably, higher scores on the PCS validation scoring tool were related to lower health-related quality-of-life scores, as was assessed by the EQ-5D-5L-VAS/-index (P<0.001), increased blood inflammatory markers (P<0.01), and decreased lung function (P<0.01). The number of acute symptoms and personal resilience, as determined by the Brief resilience scale, were predictive of higher PCS scores 9‒12 months after the acute infection.

Prof. Bahmer emphasised that this easy-to-use tool may be used to diagnose PCS, evaluate the disease burden of patients, and may serve as a clinical endpoint in future trials.

  1. Nalbandian A, et al. Nat Med. 2021;27(4):601­‒
  2. Bahmer T, et al. Severity score-based study of predictors and clinical correlates of Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS) in Germany. Long COVID and rehabilitation, ERS International Congress 2022, Barcelona, Spain, 4‒6 September.
  3. Bahmer T, et al. EClinicalMedicine. 2022;51:101549.

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