04 Jan 2021
European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine
BACKGROUND: COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is quickly spreading worldwide, with survivors that suffer functional impairments with a consequent key role of rehabilitation in this context. To date, there is a lack of findings on the role of rehabilitation in post-acute COVID-19 patients. AIM: Thus, we aimed at describing the role of a patient-tailored rehabilitation plan on functional outcome in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. DESIGN: Real-practice retrospective study. SETTING: Inpatients Rehabilitation Unit. POPULATION: Post-acute COVID-19 patients. METHODS: Medical records of patients referred to an Italian COVID-19 Rehabilitation Unit from March 10th, 2020 to April 30th, 2020 were collected. All patients underwent a rehabilitative (30 minutes/set, 2 times/day), aimed to improve gas exchanges, reducing dyspnoea, and improving muscle function. At the admission (T0) and at the discharge (T1), we evaluated as outcome measures: Barthel Index (BI), modified Medical Research Council Dyspnoea Scale, 6-Minute Walking Test (6-MWT) and Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. We also assessed: type of respiratory supports needed, pulmonary function, coagulation and inflammation markers and length of stay (LOS) in Rehabilitation Unit. RESULTS: We included 41 post-acute COVID-19 patients (25 male and 19 female), mean aged 72.15±11.07 years. Their mean LOS in the Rehabilitation Unit was 31.97±9.06 days, as 39 successfully completed the rehabilitation treatment and 2 deceased. We found statistically significant improvement in BI (84.87±15.56 vs 43.37±26.00; p<0.0001), 6-MWT (303.37±112.18 vs 240.0±81.31 meters; p=0.028), Borg RPE scale (12.23±2.51 vs 16.03±2.28; p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that post-acute COVID-19 patients might beneficiate of a motor and respiratory rehabilitation treatment. However, further studies are advised to better understand long-term sequelae of the disease. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: This study provides evidence on the role of rehabilitation COVID-19 post-acute inpatients through a patient-tailored treatment.