Title : Respiratory rehabilitation program in a cohort of post-COVID-19 patients
The COVID-19 pandemic registered its first case in Portugal in March 2020. Its repercussion on the functioning of respiratory rehabilitation services has been significant, bringing a new population of respiratory patients.
We aimed to evaluate the characteristics and evolution in training of a population of patients admitted to a respiratory rehabilitation program after COVID-19 disease. We designed a retrospective observational study including all patients admitted to the program post COVID 19 disease since March 2020 until January 2022.
47 patients met the study inclusion criteria; the majority were male (n=32; 68,1%), with a mean age of 63 years. Most patients required admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) due to COVID-19 disease (n=38; 80,9%), with invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) in 59,6% (n=28) and ECMO in 10,9% (n=5). Only one patient did not require hospitalization in the acute phase. We observed a significant prevalence of overweight or obese patients (78.7%; n=37), as well as other cardiovascular risk factors (smoking history, arterial hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia). Overweight patients were more frequently admitted to the ICU (p=0.029), with a more frequent need for IMV (p=0.024).
The median duration of the program was 8 weeks (IQR=7). Comparing the metabolic equivalents (MET) at the third training session with the end of the program, we observed a significant evolution (p<0.001).
In conclusion, most patients admitted to the rehabilitation program had severe COVID-19 disease, with important symptomatic and functional repercussions. There was a significant progression in training.