Telerehabilitation improves cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and body composition in older people with post-COVID-19 syndrome.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hospital of Mataro, Barcelona, Spain. Department of Experimental Science and Healthcare. Faculty of Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hospitalet General Hospital, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain. Research Unit Consorci Sanitari del Maresme, Barcelona, Spain. DAFNiS Research Group (Pain, Physical Activity, Nutrition and Health), Campus Docent Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Internacional de Valencia (VIU), Valencia, Spain.

Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle. 2024
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Abstract

BACKGROUND The effects of post-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) syndrome on the cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness in older people are of utmost relevance. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of a 12-week telerehabilitation programme on cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and body composition in older patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome. METHODS One hundred twenty older patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome were randomly assigned to one of two groups: patients who carried out the telerehabilitation programme (n = 60; age: 65.0 ± 5.2; female: 14.2%) and a control group (n = 60; age: 64.3 ± 5.0; female: 24.5%). An incremental cardiopulmonary exercise testing, isokinetic strength test, and bioelectrical impedance analysis were performed to compare cardiorespiratory and muscle strength responses and body composition between telerehabilitation and control groups. RESULTS A significant increase in the cardiopulmonary exercise testing duration was found in the telerehabilitation group compared to the control group (mean difference = 88.9 s, P = 0.001). Peak oxygen uptake increased in the telerehabilitation group (mean difference = 3.0 mL·kg-1·min-1, P < 0.001) and control group (mean difference = 1.9 mL·kg-1·min-1, P < 0.001). Power output in cycle ergometer (mean difference = 25.9 watts, P < 0.001), fat free mass (mean difference = 2.1 kg, P = 0.004), soft lean mass (mean difference = 2.1 kg, P = 0.003), and skeletal muscle mass (mean difference = 1.4 kg, P = 0.003) only increased in the telerehabilitation group. A significant increase in the power output was observed in the telerehabilitation group compared with the control group in both lower limbs after isokinetic strength test of the leg extension at a speed of 60° (right: mean difference = 18.7 watts, P = 0.012; left: mean difference = 15.3 watts, P = 0.010). The peak torque of right leg extension increased only in the telerehabilitation group after isokinetic strength test at a speed of 60° (mean difference = 13.1 N·m, P < 0.001). A significant increase in the power output was observed in the telerehabilitation group compared with the control group in the left leg extension after isokinetic strength test at a speed of 180° (mean difference = 30.2 watts, P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS The telerehabilitation programme improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and body composition in older patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome to a greater extent than a control group. The telerehabilitation programmes may be an alternative to improve the sequelae of post-COVID-19 syndrome in older patients.