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Pathophysiology and rehabilitation management of exercise intolerance in COVID-19 patients

Arnengsih Nazir, Indra Putera Hasri
Published: 1 January 2022
 by  Medknow

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This review aimed to explore the pathophysiology and rehabilitation management of exercise intolerance in COVID-19 patients. METHODS: We reviewed articles published in 2019-2021 using PubMed, Google Scholar, and CINAHL databases as an electronic database. Data obtained were pathophysiology and rehabilitation management of exercise intolerance in COVID-19 survivors. Types of the article were original articles and systematic or narrative reviews, both published and preprint articles. Articles that were written in English and freely accessible in pdf or HTML format were included. RESULTS: There were 28 articles eligible for this review. Pathophysiology, rehabilitation management, and both pathophysiology and rehabilitation management were explained in 7, 24, and 4 articles, consecutively. DISCUSSION: Exercise intolerance is caused by some pathological processes in the respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems as a result of systemic inflammation. Fatigue and shortness of breath during the activity were the most common symptom in the early phase of COVID-19 and persisted until the follow-up phase. Hospital admission, especially prolonged use of ventilators and immobilization worsen functional impairment resulting in persistent symptoms. Rehabilitation management begins with a functional assessment consisting of symptom assessment and physical examination of the body systems affected. The goals of rehabilitation management are to increase functional capacity, reduce symptoms, improve the ability to perform daily activities, facilitate social reintegration, and improve quality of life. Exercise is an effective intervention to reach these goals. Several studies recommend breathing, and aerobic exercises, as well as resistance exercises for peripheral and respiratory muscles, to improve symptoms and increase functional capacity.
Keywords: COVID-19 / exercise intolerance / functional capacity / pathophysiology / rehabilitation management

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