Cox, N, Raizada, SR, Barkham, N, Venkatachalam, S, Sheeran, TP, Adizie, T, Sapkota, H, Scott, IC, Muller, SN and Bateman, J (2022) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and stringent social distancing measures on health-related quality of life and COVID-19 infection rates in patients with rheumatic disease: a longitudinal analysis through the pandemic. Rheumatology Advances in Practice, 7 (1). ISSN 2514-1775

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Objective The aim was to evaluate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and stringent social isolation measures on patients with rheumatic disease (RD) from the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020). Methods In this UK-based single-centre, prospective, observational cohort study, all RD follow-up patients at our centre were invited by SMS text message in April 2020 to participate in the study. Participants completed questionnaires at four time points between April 2020 and December 2021. We collected demographics, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) status, short form 12 mental (MCS) and physical health component scores (PCS) for health-related quality of life, vaccination status, COVID-19 infection rates and incidence of long COVID. Results We enrolled 1605 patients (female, 69.0%; CEV, 46.5%); 906 of 1605 (56.4%) completed linked responses to our final questionnaire. MCS improved (+0.6, P < 0.05), whereas PCS scores deteriorated (−1.4, P < 0.001) between April 2020 and December 2021. CEV patients had worse mental and physical health scores than non-CEV patients at entry (PCS, 36.7 and 39.3, respectively, P < 0.001; MCS, 40.9 and 43.0, respectively, P < 0.001) and at each time point throughout the study; both mental and physical health outcomes were worse in CEV compared with non-CEV patients (P < 0.001 and P = 0.004, respectively). At study close, 148 of 906 (16.3%) reported COVID infection, with no difference in infection, vaccination or long COVID rates between CEV and non-CEV patients. Conclusions Mental and physical health in RD patients has changed throughout the pandemic; outcomes for both metrics of health were worse in CEV patients, although there were no differences in infection rates between the groups. These data might assist the understanding and planning of future health-care policy and social restrictions in RD patients. Trial registration,, NCT04542031.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: VC The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: health-related quality of life; patient outcomes; rheumatic disease; stringent social isolation; SMS communications; health policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC666 Diseases of the circulatory (Cardiovascular) system
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC925 Diseases of the musculoskeletal system
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2023 09:03
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2023 13:48

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