Respir Care. 2021 Aug 24:respcare.09029. doi: 10.4187/respcare.09029. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Survivors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) associated pneumonia may show exercise-induced desaturation. We wondered whether these individuals show physiologic and symptom characteristics similar to individuals with chronic respiratory diseases with exercise-induced desaturation, namely COPD or interstitial lung diseases (ILD). We evaluated lung function, exercise capacity, and symptoms in these individuals compared with individuals with COPD or ILD and exercise-induced desaturation.
METHODS: Survivors of COVID-19 associated pneumonia (study individuals), normoxemic at rest with exercise-induced desaturation, underwent assessment of dyspnea, dynamic lung volumes, carbon monoxide diffusion capacity, and the 6-min walk test. Data of individuals with COPD or with ILD and exercise-induced desaturation were also retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS: FVC was lower in individuals with COVID-19 or ILD than in those with COPD. Individuals who had COVID-19 walked < 70% of predicted and, as a whole, had a 6-min walk test performance similar to individuals with ILD but walked significantly less, showed more severe leg fatigue and dyspnea during exercise, and more exercise-induced desaturation than individuals with COPD.
CONCLUSIONS: Survivors of COVID-19 associated pneumonia, who were normoxemic at rest with exercise-induced desaturation, had alterations in lung function, exercise capacity, and symptoms similar to individuals with ILD but more severe than individuals with COPD and exercise-induced desaturation.