Published: 1 March 2022

Authors: Lesley J.J. Soril a,b , Ronald W. Damant a,c , Grace Y. Lam c , Maeve P. Smith c , Jason Weatherald d , Jean Bourbeau e , Paul Hernandez f , Michael K. Stickland

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 196


    Background: Multi-disciplinary rehabilitation is recommended for individuals with post-acute sequelae of COVID19 infection (i.e., symptoms 3–4 weeks after acute infection). There are emerging reports of use of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in the post-acute stages of COVID-19, however the appropriateness of PR for managing postCOVID symptoms remains unclear. To offer practical guidance with regards to post-COVID PR, a greater understanding of the clinical effectiveness literature is required.

    Methods: A rapid review of the published literature was completed. An electronic database search of the literature published between July 1, 2020 and June 1, 2021 was performed in MEDLINE, Pubmed, and EMBASE. Primary studies evaluating the clinical effectiveness of PR for individuals with post-COVID symptoms were included.

    Results: Nine studies evaluating the effectiveness of PR were identified; most were small, experimental or quasiexperimental studies, including 1 RCT, and were primarily of low quality. After attending PR, all studies reported improvements in exercise capacity, pulmonary function, and/or quality of life for individuals with post-COVID symptoms who had been hospitalized for their acute COVID-19 infection. Few studies evaluated changes in postCOVID symptom severity or frequency and, of these, improvements in dyspnea, fatigue, anxiety and depression were observed following PR. Further, no studies evaluated non-hospitalized patients or long-term outcomes
    beyond 3 months after initiating PR.

    Conclusions: With limited high-quality evidence, any recommendations or practical guidance for PR programmes
    for those with post-COVID symptoms should consider factors such as feasibility, current PR capacity, and resource constraints.

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