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1.
Pharmacol Res ; : 106360, 2022 Jul 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2008026

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Recent evidence suggests that oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction play critical roles in the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and Long-COVID. We hypothesized that a supplementation combining L-Arginine (to improve endothelial function) and Vitamin C (to reduce oxidation) could have favorable effects on Long-COVID symptoms. METHODS: We designed a nationwide multicenter clinical study (LINCOLN: L-Arginine and Vitamin C improves Long-COVID), in which a survey assessing several symptoms that have been associated with Long-COVID was administered to COVID-19 survivors; effort perception was measured using the Borg scale. Patients were divided in two groups, with a 2:1 ratio: the first group included patients treated with L-Arginine + Vitamin C, whereas the second group was treated with a multivitamin combination (alternative treatment). Before administering the survey, patients completed 30 days of treatment. RESULTS: 1590 patients were initially enrolled, of which 1390 completed the study. Following a 30-day treatment with L-Arginine + Vitamin C, the survey revealed that patients in this treatment group had significantly lower scores compared to the other group. There were no other significant differences between the two groups. When examining effort perception, we observed a significantly lower value (p<0.0001) in patients receiving L-Arginine + Vitamin C compared to the alternative-treatment arm. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings indicate that the supplementation with L-Arginine + Vitamin C has beneficial effects in Long-COVID, in terms of reducing its typical symptoms and improving effort perception.

2.
J Cardiovasc Dev Dis ; 9(5)2022 Apr 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875649

ABSTRACT

The endothelium is composed of a monolayer of endothelial cells, lining the interior surface of blood and lymphatic vessels. Endothelial cells display important homeostatic functions, since they are able to respond to humoral and hemodynamic stimuli. Thus, endothelial dysfunction has been proposed as a key and early pathogenic mechanism in many clinical conditions. Given the relevant repercussions on cardiovascular risk, the complex interplay between endothelial dysfunction and systemic arterial hypertension has been a matter of study in recent years. Numerous articles have been published on this issue, all of which contribute to providing an interesting insight into the molecular mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction in arterial hypertension and its role as a biomarker of inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular disease. The prognostic and therapeutic implications of endothelial dysfunction have also been analyzed in this clinical setting, with interesting new findings and potential applications in clinical practice and future research. The aim of this review is to summarize the pathophysiology of the relationship between endothelial dysfunction and systemic arterial hypertension, with a focus on the personalized pharmacological and rehabilitation strategies targeting endothelial dysfunction while treating hypertension and cardiovascular comorbidities.

3.
Biomedicines ; 10(4)2022 Mar 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820167

ABSTRACT

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) generated a worldwide emergency, until the declaration of the pandemic in March 2020. SARS-CoV-2 could be responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which goes from a flu-like illness to a potentially fatal condition that needs intensive care. Furthermore, the persistence of functional disability and long-term cardiovascular sequelae in COVID-19 survivors suggests that convalescent patients may suffer from post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, requiring long-term care and personalized rehabilitation. However, the pathophysiology of acute and post-acute manifestations of COVID-19 is still under study, as a better comprehension of these mechanisms would ensure more effective personalized therapies. To date, mounting evidence suggests a crucial endothelial contribution to the clinical manifestations of COVID-19, as endothelial cells appear to be a direct or indirect preferential target of the virus. Thus, the dysregulation of many of the homeostatic pathways of the endothelium has emerged as a hallmark of severity in COVID-19. The aim of this review is to summarize the pathophysiology of endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19, with a focus on personalized pharmacological and rehabilitation strategies targeting endothelial dysfunction as an attractive therapeutic option in this clinical setting.

4.
Med Hypotheses ; 163: 110847, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796319

ABSTRACT

Recent studies have reported an impaired exercise response at cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) during convalescence from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In detail, these previous reports suggest the presence of functional limitations in a consistent proportion of COVID-19 survivors, in the absence of relevant alterations of ventilatory and gas exchange parameters at CPET. Therefore, deconditioning has been proposed as the main mechanism of the reduced peak oxygen uptake in this clinical setting. This interpretation of the results is supported by the evidence that deconditioning is a recognized aspect of the post-intensive care syndrome, with acute sarcopenia being frequently observed among COVID-19 survivors. Here, we hypothesized the role of endothelial dysfunction as a key pathogenic mechanism of the functional limitations of COVID-19, including multisystem deconditioning and subsequent exercise intolerance.

5.
Medicina (Kaunas) ; 58(4)2022 Apr 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785809

ABSTRACT

Background and Objectives: Neurological manifestations have been reported in a significant proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence and severity of peripheral nervous system (PNS) involvement in a large group of convalescent COVID-19 patients undergoing in-hospital multidisciplinary rehabilitation. Materials and Methods: Convalescent COVID-19 patients admitted to a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit were consecutively screened for inclusion within 48 h of discharge from an acute care setting. All included patients underwent electrophysiological examinations. Results: Among 102 enrolled patients (mean age 62.0 years, 82.4% males), PNS electrophysiological alterations were detected in 42.2%. Mononeuropathies exclusively involving the peroneal nerve were observed in 8.8% (n = 9), while multiple mononeuropathies were similarly reported in nine patients (8.8%). A symmetric sensorimotor polyneuropathy was documented in 24.5% of participants (n = 25). A significant difference was found for exercise capacity and pulmonary function in post hoc comparisons between the three study groups. Conclusions: The risk of neuropathy in the convalescent phase of COVID-19 is relevant. This should be considered when planning multidisciplinary rehabilitation strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peripheral Nervous System Diseases , COVID-19/complications , Critical Care , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Discharge , Peripheral Nervous System Diseases/etiology , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Biomedicines ; 10(4):812, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1762067

ABSTRACT

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) generated a worldwide emergency, until the declaration of the pandemic in March 2020. SARS-CoV-2 could be responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which goes from a flu-like illness to a potentially fatal condition that needs intensive care. Furthermore, the persistence of functional disability and long-term cardiovascular sequelae in COVID-19 survivors suggests that convalescent patients may suffer from post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, requiring long-term care and personalized rehabilitation. However, the pathophysiology of acute and post-acute manifestations of COVID-19 is still under study, as a better comprehension of these mechanisms would ensure more effective personalized therapies. To date, mounting evidence suggests a crucial endothelial contribution to the clinical manifestations of COVID-19, as endothelial cells appear to be a direct or indirect preferential target of the virus. Thus, the dysregulation of many of the homeostatic pathways of the endothelium has emerged as a hallmark of severity in COVID-19. The aim of this review is to summarize the pathophysiology of endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19, with a focus on personalized pharmacological and rehabilitation strategies targeting endothelial dysfunction as an attractive therapeutic option in this clinical setting.

7.
Healthcare (Basel) ; 10(3)2022 Mar 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731992

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairment has been reported in the aftermath of severe acute respiratory syndrome due to coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We investigated the possible association between cognitive impairment and the main clinical and functional status variables in a cohort of convalescent COVID-19 patients without premorbid diseases potentially affecting cognition. METHODS: We consecutively screened for inclusion of convalescent COVID-19 patients referring to a post-acute care facility for pulmonary rehabilitation. All the enrolled patients were assessed for cognitive functions. We also investigated features of psychological distress (anxiety, depression, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and quality of life) and cardiac and pulmonary functional status. RESULTS: The 63 enrolled patients (mean age 59.82 ± 10.78, male gender = 47) showed a high frequency of depressive symptoms (76.2%) and anxiety (55.5%), and a high prevalence of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD, 44.4%). About half of the total sample showed reduced cognitive efficiency (RCE, 44.4%) in the domains of spatial and verbal long-term memory and executive functions. Patients with RCE more frequently showed alteration of blood pressure (BP) circadian rhythm (p = 0.01), higher levels of D-Dimer (p = 0.03), had experienced a severe illness (p = 0.02), had longer disease duration (p = 0.04), more clinically relevant symptoms of PTSD (p = 0.02), more frequent cognitive complaints (p = 0.002), higher anxiety scores (p = 0.01) and lower quality of life (p = 0.02) than patients with normal cognitive efficiency. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicated a possible association between the RCE after COVID-19 and some cardiological variables, including some indirect measures of a residual autonomic disorder, such as the presence of an altered BP circadian rhythm. Future research studies with large samples are needed to provide valid conclusions.

8.
J Clin Med ; 11(5)2022 Mar 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732088

ABSTRACT

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 (ß = 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 (ß = -1.308, p = 0.029) and peak PETCO2 values (ß = 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.

9.
J Pers Med ; 12(3)2022 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1709667

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: After the acute disease, convalescent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients may experience several persistent manifestations that require multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). By using a machine learning (ML) approach, we aimed to evaluate the clinical characteristics predicting the effectiveness of PR, expressed by an improved performance at the 6-min walking test (6MWT). METHODS: Convalescent COVID-19 patients referring to a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit were consecutively screened. The 6MWT performance was partitioned into three classes, corresponding to different degrees of improvement (low, medium, and high) following PR. A multiclass supervised classification learning was performed with random forest (RF), adaptive boosting (ADA-B), and gradient boosting (GB), as well as tree-based and k-nearest neighbors (KNN) as instance-based algorithms. RESULTS: To train and validate our model, we included 189 convalescent COVID-19 patients (74.1% males, mean age 59.7 years). RF obtained the best results in terms of accuracy (83.7%), sensitivity (84.0%), and area under the ROC curve (94.5%), while ADA-B reached the highest specificity (92.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Our model enables a good performance in predicting the rehabilitation outcome in convalescent COVID-19 patients.

10.
Respir Med ; 193: 106745, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648477

ABSTRACT

The nature of the inflammatory and fibrotic processes found in patients with post-COVID-19 syndrome makes it possible to speculate that in such patients fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) may be a useful biomarker. Consequently, we set out to verify the consistency of this hypothesis. We consecutively enrolled 68 post-COVID patients after being hospitalized for persistent clinical manifestations within 2 months from disease onset and 29 healthy volunteers as control group. None of post-COVID patients had bronchial asthma or were being treated with a corticosteroid. Only 19 out of 68 post-COVID-19 patients reported a FeNO value > 25 ppb. The mean FeNO value in post-COVID-19 patients was 18.55 ppb (95% CI: 15.50 to 21.58), while in healthy subjects it was 17.46 ppb (95% CI: 15.75 to 19.17). The mean difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.053). However, the mean FeNO value of post-COVID-19 patients was higher in men than in women (20.97 ppb; 95% CI: 16.61 to 25.33 vs 14.36 ppb; 95% CI: 11.11 to 17.61) with a difference between the two sexes that was statistically significant (P = 0.016). Mean FeNO was 14.89 ppb (95% CI: 10.90 to 18.89) in patients who had been treated with systemic corticosteroids because of their COVID-19, and 20.80 ppb (95% CI: 16.56 to 25.04) in those who had not taken them, with a difference that was statistically significant (P = 0.043). The data generated in this study suggest that measurement of FeNO is not useful as a biomarker in post-COVID-19 patient. However, this hypothesis needs solid validation with additional specifically designed studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Biomarkers , Breath Tests , COVID-19/complications , Exhalation , Female , Humans , Male , Nitric Oxide , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Biomedicines ; 10(1)2021 Dec 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1629766

ABSTRACT

The endothelium is considered the largest organ of the body, composed of a monolayer of endothelial cells (ECs) lining the interior surface of blood and lymphatic vessels [...].

12.
Monaldi Arch Chest Dis ; 91(4)2021 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1599011

ABSTRACT

As part of the Italian Health Service the respiratory ICS Maugeri network were reconfigured and several in-hospital programs were suspended to be substituted by workforce and facilities reorganization for acute and post-acute COVID-19 care need. The present review shows the time course variation of respiratory ICS network in terms of admissions diagnosis and outcomes. A comparative review of the admissions and outcome measures data (anthropometric, admission diagnosis, provenience, comorbidities, disability, symptoms, effort tolerance, disease impact, length of stay and discharge destinations) over 1 year period (March 2020-March 2021) was undertaken and compared to retrospective data from a corresponding 1 year (March 2019-March 2020) period to determine the impact of the network relocation on the delivery of pulmonary specialist rehabilitation to patients with complex needs during the pandemic episode. One of the changes implemented at the respiratory Maugeri network was the relocation of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation units from its 351 beds base to a repurposed 247 beds and a reduction in total number of admitted patients (n=3912 in pre-COVID time; n=2089 in post COVID time). All respiratory diagnosis, except COVID sequelae, decreased (chronic respiratory failure-CRF, COPD, obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome-OSAS, interstitial lung disease-ILD, tracheostomized patients and other mixed diseases decreased of 734, 705, 157, 87, 79 and 326 units respectively). During the pandemic time, 265 post COVID sequelae with CRF were admitted for rehabilitation (12.62%), % of patients coming from acute hospital increased, LOS and NIV use remained stable while CPAP indication decreased. Disease impact, dyspnea and effort tolerance as their improvements after rehabilitation, were similar in the two periods.  Only baseline disability, expressed by Barthel index, seems higher in the 2° observation time as its improvement. Hospital deaths and transfers to acute hospitals were higher during pandemic crisis while home destination decreased. This review demonstrated impact of coronavirus pandemic situation, specifically the relocation of the respiratory inpatient rehabilitation wards in a huge Italian network.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospitalization , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Biomedicines ; 10(1)2021 Dec 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581029

ABSTRACT

In late 2019, the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) gave rise to a public health emergency, culminating in the declaration of a pandemic in March 2020 [...].

17.
Sensors (Basel) ; 21(17)2021 Aug 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374493

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The standard test that identifies the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is based on reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from nasopharyngeal (NP) swab specimens. We compared the accuracy of a rapid antigen detection test using exhaled breath condensate by a modified Inflammacheck® device with the standard RT-PCR to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We performed a manufacturer-independent, cross-sectional, diagnostic accuracy study involving two Italian hospitals. Sensitivity, specificity, positive (PLR) and negative likelihood ratio (NLR), positive (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) and diagnostic accuracy with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) of Inflammacheck® were calculated using the RT-PCR results as the standard. Further RT-PCR tests were conducted on NP specimens from test positive subjects to obtain the Ct (cycle threshold) values as indicative evidence of the viral load. RESULTS: A total of 105 individuals (41 females, 39.0%; 64 males, 61.0%; mean age: 58.4 years) were included in the final analysis, with the RT-PCR being positive in 13 (12.4%) and negative in 92 (87.6%). The agreement between the two methods was 98.1%, with a Cohen's κ score of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.79-1.00). The overall sensitivity and specificity of the Inflammacheck® were 92.3% (95% CI: 64.0%-99.8%) and 98.9% (95% CI: 94.1%-100%), respectively, with a PLR of 84.9 (95% CI: 12.0-600.3) and a NLR of 0.08 (95% CI: 0.01-0.51). Considering a 12.4% disease prevalence in the study cohort, the PPV was 92.3% (95% CI: 62.9%-98.8%) and the NPV was 98.9% (95% CI: 93.3%-99.8%), with an overall accuracy of 98.1% (95% CI: 93.3%-99.8%). The Fagan's nomogram substantially confirmed the clinical applicability of the test in a realistic scenario with a pre-test probability set at 4%. Ct values obtained for the positive test subjects by means of the RT-PCR were normally distributed between 26 and 38 cycles, corresponding to viral loads from light (38 cycles) to high (26 cycles). The single false negative record had a Ct value of 33, which was close to the mean of the cohort (32.5 cycles). CONCLUSIONS: The modified Inflammacheck® device may be a rapid, non-demanding and cost-effective method for SARS-CoV-2 detection. This device may be used for routine practice in different healthcare settings (community, hospital, rehabilitation).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Predictive Value of Tests , Sensitivity and Specificity
18.
Biomedicines ; 9(8)2021 Aug 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341646

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Endothelial dysfunction has a key role in the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its disabling complications. We designed a case-control study to assess the alterations of endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) among convalescent COVID-19 patients. METHODS: COVID-19 patients referred to a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Unit within 2 months from swab test negativization were consecutively evaluated for inclusion and compared to controls matched for age, gender, and cardiovascular risk factors. RESULTS: A total of 133 convalescent COVID-19 patients (81.2% males, mean age 61.6 years) and 133 matched controls (80.5% males, mean age 60.4 years) were included. A significantly lower FMD was documented in convalescent COVID-19 patients as compared to controls (3.2% ± 2.6 vs. 6.4% ± 4.1 p < 0.001), confirmed when stratifying the study population according to age and major clinical variables. Among cases, females exhibited significantly higher FMD values as compared to males (6.1% ± 2.9 vs. 2.5% ± 1.9, p < 0.001). Thus, no significant difference was observed between cases and controls in the subgroup analysis on females (6.1% ± 2.9 vs. 5.3% ± 3.4, p = 0.362). Among convalescent COVID-19 patients, FMD showed a direct correlation with arterial oxygen tension (rho = 0.247, p = 0.004), forced expiratory volume in 1 s (rho = 0.436, p < 0.001), forced vital capacity (rho = 0.406, p < 0.001), and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (rho = 0.280, p = 0.008). Overall, after adjusting for major confounders, a recent COVID-19 was a major and independent predictor of FMD values (ß = -0.427, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome is associated with a persistent and sex-biased endothelial dysfunction, directly correlated with the severity of pulmonary impairment.

20.
Biomedicines ; 9(6)2021 May 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256426

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Growing evidence points to a key role of endothelial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of COVID-19. In this study, we evaluated changes in endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in a cohort of convalescent COVID-19 patients undergoing pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). METHODS: After swab test negativization, convalescent COVID-19 patients referring to a post-acute care facility for PR were consecutively screened for inclusion. Study procedures were performed at the time of hospitalization and discharge. RESULTS: We enrolled 82 convalescent COVID-19 patients (85.4% males, mean age 60.4 years). After PR, a significant improvement in most pulmonary function tests and exercise capacity was documented. FMD changed from 2.48% ± 2.01 to 4.24% ± 2.81 (p < 0.001), corresponding to a 70.9% increase. Significantly higher changes in FMD were found in patients without a history of vascular events as compared to those with (+2.04% ± 2.30 vs. +0.61% ± 1.83, p = 0.013). Values of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1%), forced vital capacity (FVC%) and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO%) significantly and directly correlated with FMD both at baseline and after PR. Patients with normal FEV1% (≥80% predicted) during the overall study period or those normalizing FEV1% after PR showed a more significant FMD change as compared to patients with persistently impaired FEV1% (<80% predicted) (p for trend = 0.029). This finding was confirmed in a multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Clinically evaluated endothelial function improves after PR in convalescent COVID-19 patients. A direct and persistent association between the severity of pulmonary and vascular disease can be hypothesized. Endothelial function testing may be useful in the follow-up of convalescent COVID-19 patients.

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