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Systematic Review

Rehabilitation Interventions for Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome: A Systematic Review

by 1, 1,2,*, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 3,9 and 1,3,† on behalf of Reggio Emilia COVID-19 Working Group
1
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Viale Risorgimento n.80, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
2
Clinical and Experimental Medicine PhD Program, University of Modena and Reggio, Via del Pozzo n.74, 41100 Modena, Italy
3
Department of Surgical, Medical, Dental and Morphological Sciences Related to Transplant, Oncology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41124 Modena, Italy
4
Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Advanced Biotechnologies Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale—IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
5
Infectious Diseases Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale—IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
6
Pulmonology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale—IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
7
Radiology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale—IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Viale Risorgimento 80, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
8
Medical Physics Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale—IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
9
Rheumatology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale—IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Members are listed in the Acknowledgments.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095185
Received: 22 March 2022 / Revised: 20 April 2022 / Accepted: 21 April 2022 / Published: 24 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Inheritance?)
Increasing numbers of individuals suffer from post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS), which manifests with persistent symptoms, the most prevalent being dyspnea, fatigue, and musculoskeletal, cognitive, and/or mental health impairments. This systematic review investigated the effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions for individuals with PACS. We searched the MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials, CINHAL, Scopus, Prospero, and PEDro databases and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) up to November 2021. We screened 516 citations for eligibility, i.e., trials that included individuals with PACS exposed to exercise-based rehabilitation interventions. Five RCTs were included, accounting for 512 participants (aged 49.2–69.4 years, 65% males). Based on the revised Cochrane risk-of-bias tool (RoB 2.0), two RCTs had “low risk of bias”, and three were in the “some concerns” category. Three RCTs compared experimental rehabilitation interventions with no or minimal rehabilitation, while two compared two active rehabilitation interventions. Rehabilitation seemed to improve dyspnea, anxiety, and kinesiophobia. Results on pulmonary function were inconsistent, while improvements were detected in muscle strength, walking capacity, sit-to-stand performance, and quality of life. Pending further studies based on qualitatively sound designs, these first findings seem to advocate for rehabilitation interventions to lessen disability due to PACS. View Full-Text
Keywords: long COVID; PACS; rehabilitation; post-acute COVID-19 syndrome; pulmonary rehabilitation; exercise long COVID; PACS; rehabilitation; post-acute COVID-19 syndrome; pulmonary rehabilitation; exercise
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Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Fugazzaro, S.; Contri, A.; Esseroukh, O.; Kaleci, S.; Croci, S.; Massari, M.; Facciolongo, N.C.; Besutti, G.; Iori, M.; Salvarani, C.; Costi, S., on behalf of Reggio Emilia COVID-19 Working Group. Rehabilitation Interventions for Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5185. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095185

AMA Style

Fugazzaro S, Contri A, Esseroukh O, Kaleci S, Croci S, Massari M, Facciolongo NC, Besutti G, Iori M, Salvarani C, Costi S on behalf of Reggio Emilia COVID-19 Working Group. Rehabilitation Interventions for Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(9):5185. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095185

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fugazzaro, Stefania, Angela Contri, Otmen Esseroukh, Shaniko Kaleci, Stefania Croci, Marco Massari, Nicola C. Facciolongo, Giulia Besutti, Mauro Iori, Carlo Salvarani, and Stefania Costi on behalf of Reggio Emilia COVID-19 Working Group. 2022. "Rehabilitation Interventions for Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome: A Systematic Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 9: 5185. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095185

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