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BMJ Mil Health ; 2022 Nov 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2137984


OBJECTIVE: Post-COVID-19 syndrome presents a health and economic challenge affecting ~10% of patients recovering from COVID-19. Accurate assessment of patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome is complicated by health anxiety and coincident symptomatic autonomic dysfunction. We sought to determine whether either symptoms or objective cardiopulmonary exercise testing could predict clinically significant findings. METHODS: 113 consecutive military patients were assessed in a comprehensive clinical pathway. This included symptom reporting, history, examination, spirometry, echocardiography and cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in all, with chest CT, dual-energy CT pulmonary angiography and cardiac MRI where indicated. Symptoms, CPET findings and presence/absence of significant pathology were reviewed. Data were analysed to identify diagnostic strategies that may be used to exclude significant disease. RESULTS: 7/113 (6%) patients had clinically significant disease adjudicated by cardiothoracic multidisciplinary team (MDT). These patients had reduced fitness (V̇O2 26.7 (±5.1) vs 34.6 (±7.0) mL/kg/min; p=0.002) and functional capacity (peak power 200 (±36) vs 247 (±55) W; p=0.026) compared with those without significant disease. Simple CPET criteria (oxygen uptake (V̇O2) >100% predicted and minute ventilation (VE)/carbon dioxide elimination (V̇CO2) slope <30.0 or VE/V̇CO2 slope <35.0 in isolation) excluded significant disease with sensitivity and specificity of 86% and 83%, respectively (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) 0.89). The addition of capillary blood gases to estimate alveolar-arterial gradient improved diagnostic performance to 100% sensitivity and 78% specificity (AUC 0.92). Symptoms and spirometry did not discriminate significant disease. CONCLUSIONS: In a population recovering from SARS-CoV-2, there is reassuringly little organ pathology. CPET and functional capacity testing, but not reported symptoms, permit the exclusion of clinically significant disease.

BMJ Mil Health ; 2021 May 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247367


INTRODUCTION: The multisystem COVID-19 can cause prolonged symptoms requiring rehabilitation. This study describes the creation of a remote COVID-19 rehabilitation assessment tool to allow timely triage, assessment and management. It hypotheses those with post-COVID-19 syndrome, potentially without laboratory confirmation and irrespective of initial disease severity, will have significant rehabilitation needs. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of consecutive patients referred by general practitioners (April-November 2020). Primary outcomes were presence/absence of anticipated sequelae. Binary logistic regression was used to test association between acute presentation and post-COVID-19 symptomatology. RESULTS: 155 patients (n=127 men, n=28 women, median age 39 years, median 13 weeks post-illness) were assessed using the tool. Acute symptoms were most commonly shortness of breath (SOB) (74.2%), fever (73.5%), fatigue (70.3%) and cough (64.5%); and post-acutely, SOB (76.7%), fatigue (70.3%), cough (57.4%) and anxiety/mood disturbance (39.4%). Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were 69% and 63% less likely to have anxiety/mood disturbance and pain, respectively, at 3 months. CONCLUSIONS: Rehabilitation assessment should be offered to all patients suffering post-COVID-19 symptoms, not only those with laboratory confirmation and considered independently from acute illness severity. This tool offers a structure for a remote assessment. Post-COVID-19 programmes should include SOB, fatigue and mood disturbance management.