Preliminary Observations of Functional Status in Hospitalized Post-COVID-19 Fibrosis Patients after Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Pilot Study


Anulucia Augustine Y
College of Physiotherapy, Sector-30, Vashi, Navi Mumbai- 400705
Vrushali Prashant Panhale
MGM College of Physiotherapy, Plot No. 46, Sec 30, Vashi, Navi Mumbai
Shruti Prabhakaran Nair
MGM College of Physiotherapy, Plot No. 46, Sec 30, Vashi, Navi Mumbai


Introduction: Emerging data suggests a spectrum of pulmonary manifestations, ranging from Dyspnoea (with or without chronic oxygen dependence) to difficult ventilator weaning and fibrotic lung damage among COVID-19 survivors. Prolonged hospitalization is known to significantly affect their activity levels, impair muscle strength and cardio-pulmonary endurance thereby diminishing the chances of early hospital discharge. Timely intervention emphasizing functional outcome can potentially play a major role in improving the health status of these patients.

Methods: This single-group interventional study was conducted among hospitalized post COVID-19 fibrosis patients in a tertiary care set-up. Demographic details and clinical records were documented from medical charts. Tailor-made Physiotherapy was delivered in the form of breathing exercises, positioning, strengthening, functional training and ambulation as per their clinical status. Outcome measures assessed at baseline and post intervention were 1 minute Sit to Stand Test (STST), Short Physical Performance Battery Test (SPPB) and Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS). Statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 23 software.

Results: Twenty-five participants (males-19, females-6) with mean age of 54.25(13.36) years were enrolled in the study. Almost 68% of them had a history of ICU stay; oxygen support varied from 44% receiving via non-rebreathing bag whereas 12% receiving via nasal prongs and 20 % breathing in room air. Five patients succumbed to illness during the course of hospitalization and four of them took discharge against medical advice. Data analysed for remaining 16 participants revealed a significant improvement in all functional outcomes i.e., STST (pre: 7.06±4.31, post: 14.19± 2.14, p value= 0.000), SPPB (pre :5±2.76, post: 9.38±1.54, p value =0.001) and FAS (pre:33.25 ± 10.75, post: 25.81 ±4.74, p value=0.007) post rehabilitation.

Conclusion: Evaluation of functional status along with goal specific rehabilitation during early hospitalization can help improve functional outcomes thereby alleviating long term complications in post COVID-19 fibrosis patients.

August 19, 2022