The following is the summary of “Functional and Clinical Characteristics of Individuals Attending Pulmonary Rehabilitation After Severe COVID-19” published in the January 2023 issue of Respiratory Care January by  Gigliotti, et al.

In extreme cases of COVID-19, patients may require hospitalization due to respiratory distress. Researchers aimed to characterize people who had survived severe COVID-19 and were subsequently treated for pulmonary rehabilitation to determine what kind of help they would require from the program. From April 2020 through September 2021, we retrieved 203 individuals from the COVID-19 Registry of Fondazione Don Gnocchi who were admitted for in-patient pulmonary rehabilitation following severe COVID-19. The clinical and functional features of hospital inpatients admitted to rehabilitation units were also recorded.

The results showed that 85 patients who were hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) during the acute phase of their sickness suffered delirium. 20 patients were still on mechanical breathing, 57 had a tracheostomy, 142 were on oxygen, 49 were diagnosed with critical illness neuropathy, 162 had a modified Barthel Index of <75, and 51 were able to complete a 6-minute walk test upon admission to rehabilitation programs. For example, 32% of the 90 participants had abnormal scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, 43% of the 88 participants had abnormal scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, 65% had scores of ≥2 or less on the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool, and 95% had dysphagia requiring logopedic intervention.

Their findings demonstrate that patients with severe COVID-19 who are admitted for in-patient pulmonary rehabilitation are a clinically complex and highly heterogeneous group requiring individualized, all-encompassing rehabilitation programs delivered by multidisciplinary teams. The importance of transitional care institutions, such as less rigorous rehabilitation centers, is also emphasized.


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