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Functional characteristics and subjective disease perception in patients with COVID-19 two months after hospital discharge

Teraž, Kaja; Šimunič, Boštjan; Peskar, Manca; Marusic, Uros; Pišot, Saša; Šlosar, Luka; Gasparini, Malden; Pišot, Rado

Introduction: Although early inpatient and post-hospital rehabilitation is recognized as necessary, not all COVID-19 patients have access to rehabilitation. There are no published reports in the literature that investigate the outcomes of patients who do not receive rehabilitation after COVID-19. Our aim was to evaluate possible improvements in determinate functional and psychological parameters in COVID-19 patients two months after their hospital discharge. Methods: On both time points various motor, cognitive, and clinical measurements such as body composition, tensiomyography, blood pressure, spirometry, grip strength test, Timed Up and Go test, gait speed, 30-second chair-stand test, and Montreal Cognitive Assessment, were performed. Additionally, questionnaires such as the SARC-CalF test, Edmonton frail scale, International Physical Activity questionnaire andThe Mediterranean Lifestyle index were conducted to assess lifestyle characteristics. Results: A total of 39 patients (87.2% male; mean age of 59.1 ± 10.3 years), who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 at the Izola General Hospital (IGH), Slovenia between December 2020 and April 2021, were included. Patients were assessed at two time points (T1 and T2): T1 was taken after receiving a negative COVID-19 test and T2 was taken two months after T1. After two months of self-rehabilitation, we have detected a BMI increase (p < .001), fat free mass increase (p < .001), better Edmonton frail scale (p < .001), SARC-CalF score (p = .014) and MoCA score (p = .014). There were no detected changes in lifestyle habits nor in physical performance tests. Discussion: It is already known that COVID-19 has long-term negative consequences regardless of the stage of the disease. Our findings support the notion that patients cannot fully regain all their functions within a two-month period without receiving structured or supervised rehabilitation. Therefore, it is crucial to offer patients comprehensive and structured rehabilitation that incorporates clinical, cognitive, and motor exercises.
Published in: Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences, 10.3389/fresc.2023.1209900, Frontiers