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Article

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Performance and Endothelial Function in Convalescent COVID-19 Patients

1
Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit of Telese Terme Institute, 82037 Telese Terme, Italy
2
Ospedale Sacro Cuore di Gesù Fatebenefratelli, 82100 Benevento, Italy
3
Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit of Telese Terme Institute, 82037 Telese Terme, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Domingo Palacios-Ceña and César Fernández De Las Peñas
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(5), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11051452
Received: 8 February 2022 / Revised: 2 March 2022 / Accepted: 4 March 2022 / Published: 7 March 2022
Background: Endothelial dysfunction has been proposed as the common pathogenic background of most manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Among these, some authors also reported an impaired exercise response during cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). We aimed to explore the potential association between endothelial dysfunction and the reduced CPET performance in COVID-19 survivors. Methods: 36 consecutive COVID-19 survivors underwent symptom-limited incremental CPET and assessment of endothelium-dependent flow-mediate dilation (FMD) according to standardized protocols. Results: A significantly higher FMD was documented in patients with a preserved, as compared to those with a reduced, exercise capacity (4.11% ± 2.08 vs. 2.54% ± 1.85, p = 0.048), confirmed in a multivariate analysis (β = 0.899, p = 0.038). In the overall study population, FMD values showed a significant Pearson’s correlation with two primary CPET parameters, namely ventilation/carbon dioxide production (VE/VCO2) slope (r = −0.371, p = 0.026) and end-tidal carbon dioxide tension (PETCO2) at peak (r = 0.439, p = 0.007). In multiple linear regressions, FMD was the only independent predictor of VE/VCO2 slope (β = −1.308, p = 0.029) and peak PETCO2 values (β = 0.779, p = 0.021). Accordingly, when stratifying our study population based on their ventilatory efficiency, patients with a ventilatory class III-IV (VE/VCO2 slope ≥ 36) exhibited significantly lower FMD values as compared to those with a ventilatory class I-II. Conclusions: The alteration of endothelial barrier properties in systemic and pulmonary circulation may represent a key pathogenic mechanism of the reduced CPET performance in COVID-19 survivors. Personalized pharmacological and rehabilitation strategies targeting endothelial function may represent an attractive therapeutic option. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; endothelial function; chronic disease; cardiovascular diseases; disability; exercise; rehabilitation; occupational medicine; outcome COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; endothelial function; chronic disease; cardiovascular diseases; disability; exercise; rehabilitation; occupational medicine; outcome
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ambrosino, P.; Parrella, P.; Formisano, R.; Perrotta, G.; D’Anna, S.E.; Mosella, M.; Papa, A.; Maniscalco, M. Cardiopulmonary Exercise Performance and Endothelial Function in Convalescent COVID-19 Patients. J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11, 1452. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11051452

AMA Style

Ambrosino P, Parrella P, Formisano R, Perrotta G, D’Anna SE, Mosella M, Papa A, Maniscalco M. Cardiopulmonary Exercise Performance and Endothelial Function in Convalescent COVID-19 Patients. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2022; 11(5):1452. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11051452

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ambrosino, Pasquale, Paolo Parrella, Roberto Formisano, Giovanni Perrotta, Silvestro E. D’Anna, Marco Mosella, Antimo Papa, and Mauro Maniscalco. 2022. "Cardiopulmonary Exercise Performance and Endothelial Function in Convalescent COVID-19 Patients" Journal of Clinical Medicine 11, no. 5: 1452. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11051452

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