Effect of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Approaches on Dyspnea, Exercise Capacity, Fatigue, Lung Functions, and Quality of Life in Patients With COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Ahmed I., MUSTAFAOĞLU R., YELDAN KARAGÖZ İ., Yasaci Z., Erhan B.

ARCHIVES OF PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION, vol.103, no.10, pp.2051-2062, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 103 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.apmr.2022.06.007
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, SportDiscus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2051-2062
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Dyspnea, Exercise capacity, Pulmonary rehabilita-tion, Rehabilitation, SARS-COV-2
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: To qualitatively synthesize and quantitatively evaluate the effect of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) on dyspnea, lung functions, fatigue, exercise capacity, and quality of life (QoL) in patients with COVID-19.Data Sources: PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were searched from January 2020 to April 2022.Data Selection: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effect of PR on dyspnea, lung functions, fatigue, exercise capacity, and QoL in patients with COVID-19. Data Extraction: The mean difference (MD) and a 95% CI were estimated for all the outcome measures using random effect models. The follow-ing data were extracted by 2 independent reviewers: (1) first author; (2) publication year; (3) nationality; (4) number of patients included (5) comorbidities; (6) ventilatory support; (7) length of inpatient stay; (8) type of PR; (9) outcome measures; and (10) main findings. The risk of bias was evaluated using the cochrane risk of bias tool. Data Synthesis: A total of 8 RCTs involving 449 participants were included in the review. PR was found to be significantly effective in improving dyspnea (5 studies, SMD-2.11 [95% CI,-2.96 to-1.27; P<.001]) and exercise capacity (MD 65.85 m [95% CI, 42.86 to 88.83; P<.001]) in patients with both acute and chronic COVID-19 with mild to severe symptoms, whereas fatigue (MD-2.42 [95% CI,-2.72 to-2.11, P<.05]) and lung functions (MD 0.26 L [95% CI, 0.04 to 0.48, P<.05]) were significantly improved in acute COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. The effect of PR on QoL was inconsistent across studies. PR was found to be safe and feasible for patients with COVID-19.Conclusion: Evidence from studies indicates that PR program is superior to no intervention in improving dyspnea, exercise capacity, lung functions, and fatigue in patients with COVID-19. PR appears to be safe and beneficial for both acute and chronic COVID-19 patients. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2022;103:2051-62 (c) 2022 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.