Severity does not impact on exercise capacity in COVID-19 survivors.
Respiratory medicine. 2021;:106577
BACKGROUND current data on the impact of acute illness severity on exercise capacity and ventilatory efficiency of COVID-19 survivors, evaluated at cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), are limited. METHODS in this post-hoc analysis of our previous observational, prospective, cohort study on mechanisms of exercise intolerance in COVID-19 survivors, we aimed at evaluating the impact of acute COVID-19 severity on exercise capacity, pulmonary function testing (PFT) and chest computed tomography (CT) outcomes. RESULTS we enrolled 75 patients (18 with mild-to-moderate disease, 18 with severe disease, and 39 with critical disease). Mean (standard deviation - SD) follow-up time was 97 (26) days. Groups showed a similar PFT and CT residual involvement, featuring a mildly reduced exercise capacity with comparable mean (SD) values of peak oxygen consumption as percentage of predicted (83 (17) vs 82 (16) vs 84 (15), p = 0.895) among groups, as well as the median (interquartile range - IQR) alveolar-arterial gradient for O2 in mmHg at exercise peak (20 (15-28) vs 27 (18-31) vs 26 (21-21), p = 0.154), which was in the limit of normal. In addition, these patients featured a preserved mean ventilatory efficiency evaluated through the slope of the relation between ventilation and carbon dioxide output during exercise (27.1 (2.6) vs 29.8 (3.9) vs 28.3 (2.6), p = 0.028), without a clinically relevant difference. CONCLUSIONS Disease severity does not impact on exercise capacity in COVID-19 survivors at 3 months after discharge, including a ventilatory response still in the limit of normal.
Follow-up of functional exercise capacity in patients with COVID-19: It is improved by telerehabilitation.
Respiratory medicine. 2021;:106438
BACKGROUND The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on functional exercise capacity seemed quickly clinically evident. The objective of this study was to assess the functional exercise capacity of patients with severe COVID-19 and to evaluate the effect of a telerehabilitation program in the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHOD Patients hospitalized for severe or critical COVID-19 were recruited. The functional exercise capacity (1-min sit-to-stand test (STST)) was prospectively quantified at discharge. A telerehabilitation program was then proposed. A control group was composed with the patients refusing the program. RESULTS At discharge, none of the 48 recruited patients had a STST higher than the 50th percentile and 77% of them were below the 2.5th percentile. SpO2 was 92.6 ± 3.0% after STST and 15 patients had oxygen desaturation. After 3-months of follow-up, the number of repetitions during STST significantly increased either in telerehabilitation (n = 14) (p < 0.001) or in control groups (n = 13) (p = 0.002) but only one patient had a result higher than the 50th percentile (in Telerehabilitation group) and 37% of them were still under the 2.5th percentile for this result. The improvement was significantly and clinically greater after the telerehabilitation program (p = 0.005). No adverse events were reported by the patients during the program. CONCLUSIONS Patients hospitalized for COVID-19 have a low functional exercise capacity at discharge and the recovery after three months is poor. The feasibility and the effect of a simple telerehabilitation program were verified, this program being able to substantially improve the functional recovery after three months.