Hughes reports receiving funding from the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration, UK Research and Innovation and West Midlands, and personal fees from Aparito and Cochlear outside of this work. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Researchers in the United Kingdom developed a novel tool they said can assess the symptoms of long COVID and help deliver clinical care.

With input from patients, Sarah E. Hughes, PhD, MHSc, and colleagues created the Symptom Burden Questionnaire for Long COVID (SBQ-LC) to fill the need for a comprehensive, patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) that is specific to long COVID, Hughes said.

Sarah Hughes

“When reviewing existing measures, individuals living with long COVID told us that these PROMs did not fully capture their lived experience,” Hughes, a research fellow in the Centre for Patient-Reported Outcomes Research at the University of Birmingham, told Healio.

Hughes and colleagues used data collected from 13 adults with long COVID and published systematic reviews of long COVID symptoms to create the questionnaire, which was then field tested by 274 adults with long COVID.

The questionnaire is composed of 17 independent scales including symptoms involving breathing, circulation, fatigue, reproductive and sexual health, and pain. Using the questionnaire, users rate their symptom burden from the past 7 days using a dichotomous response or four-point rating scale.

According to the study, each of the 17 scales provides coverage of a different symptom domain and returns a summed score that can be transformed to a linear score numbering from 0 to 100, with higher scores representing a higher symptom burden.

“The SBQ-LC is a comprehensive patient-reported outcome measure of symptom burden, developed with extensive lived experience input and according to regulatory guidance. It is one of the first condition-specific PROMs available for long COVID research and clinical care,” Hughes said. “We hope it may be adopted widely for use as part of a core outcome set for long COVID to enable comparative global data.”

Hughes said the questionnaire is available for use by researchers and clinicians upon completion of a license agreement.


Hughes SE, et al. BMJ. 2022;doi:10.1136/bmj-2022-070230.

New tool to assess long COVID symptoms. www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/2022/new-tool-to-assess-long-covid-symptoms. Published April 27, 2022. Accessed May 9, 2022.

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