Introduction: Some COVID-19 patients develop respiratory failure requiring admission to intensive care unit (ICU). We aim to evaluate the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) post-ICU in COVID-19 patients.
Methods: Twenty-one COVID-19 patients were evaluated pre- and post-PR and compared retrospectively to a non-COVID-19 group of 21 patients rehabilitated after ICU admission due to respiratory failure.
Results: PR induced greater 6-min walking distance improvement in COVID-19 patients (+205 ± 121 m) than in other respiratory failure patients post-ICU (+93 ± 66 m). The sooner PR was performed post-ICU, the better patients recovered.
Conclusions: PR induced large functional improvements in COVID-19 patients post-ICU although significant physical and psychosocial impairments remained post-PR.
Keywords: COVID-19; Functional recovery; Pulmonary rehabilitation; Respiratory failure.
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