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COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study



Convalescence study recruits over 100 participants

By COVID-19 LH&W National Core Study, on 9 December 2021

Update from the Convalescence team.

Over 100 participants have been enrolled to take part in the Convalescence Deep Phenotyping Clinic!

What is the Convalescence Study? The NIHR/UKRI funded Convalescence study (Characterisation, determinants, mechanisms and consequences of the long-term effects of COVID-19: providing the evidence base for health care services) aims to help define, diagnose, and describe long COVID, to better understand the mechanisms of long COVID, and ultimately inform recovery methods and healthcare.

This is being achieved by using national anonymised linked primary care electronic health records, and longitudinal population studies (LPS) that include people of all ages across the UK.  A wealth of data including health and socioeconomic information has been collected on LPS participants for many years before the pandemic. During the pandemic we have asked about physical health, long COVID, mental health and wellbeing, social and economic circumstances and lifestyle; via questionnaires.

From these LPS, we are asking people reporting long COVID, and comparator groups, to wear a wrist band measuring exercise ability, breathing, and heart rate, and to complete online questionnaires on mental health and cognitive function. They are also being invited to our deep phenotyping clinic at UCL for non-invasive imaging to look at potential damage to vital organs, such as the brain, lungs and heart. The clinic is aiming to recruit 800 participants over two years.

What sets this study apart from other long COVID studies? Recruiting from existing LPS, that span the UK, is a major strength of this work.  Firstly, these cohorts include people who have not consulted with health care services for their long COVID symptoms, enhancing generalisability of findings. Secondly, as detailed, pre-pandemic data has been captured on all individuals, this will help to identify the true effects of infection on disease, as opposed to progression of underlying ill-health, or indeed the general impact of government policies to contain the virus, such as lockdown and furlough which have also impacted long term health.

Deep Phenotyping Clinic The study has begun recruitment from the TwinsUK study, and is aiming to begin recruitment from other cohort studies including Children of the 90s (ALSPAC), Born in Bradford, and Generation Scotland in the coming months. 50 participants have already attended a clinic appointment at UCL’s Bloomsbury Centre for Clinical Phenotyping.

During the visit, participants undertake the following tests:

  • Anthropometry
  • Lung function using spirometry
  • Resting heart rate variability and electrocardiogram (ECG), lying, seated, standing brachial and central blood pressure (BP)
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing, including assessment of peak VO2, 12 lead ECG, blood pressure, muscle perfusion using near infrared spectroscopy, echocardiographic cardiac output and pre- post exercise lactate
  • Retinal Optical Coherence Tomography angiography
  • Strength and physical performance
  • Blood and urine samples for storage

Watch the participant clinic visit video here:

Convalescence Clinic Visit Video

Feedback from the participants have been very positive, with one participant commenting: “To be involved in cutting edge research is a privilege. Also, useful to find out more about my health and fitness”

A huge thank you to everyone who has participated so far in this very important research.

Convalescence Long-COVID Study | COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study – UCL – University College London


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