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Functional outcomes in post Covid-19 patients with persistent dyspnea: multidisciplinary approach.

BACKGROUND: Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) have emerged as a major health issue in patients who have previously been infected with Covid-19 virus.

PURPOSE: we aimed at the assessment of functional outcomes in post Covid-19 patients with persistent dyspnea using a multidisciplinary approach including clinical assessment, laboratory investigations, exercise ECG, and different echo-Doppler modalities, including left atrial functions.

METHODS: The current observational randomized controlled study conducted on 60- patients one month after recovery from Covid-19 infection presented with persistent dyspnea compared to 30 healthy volunteers. All participants were subjected to evaluation of dyspnea by different scores, laboratory investigations, stress ECG, and echo-Doppler examination to measure LV dimensions, volumes, systolic and diastolic functions by M-mode, 2D, and tissue Doppler imaging in addition to 2-D speckle tacking LA strain.

RESULTS: Post Covid-19 patients had persistent elevation of inflammatory markers, low functional capacity (evidenced by a higher NYHA class, m MRC score, PCFS scale) and decreased METs by stress ECG compared to control group. Post Covid-19 patients showed LV diastolic dysfunction and impairment of 2D-STE LA functions compared to control group. We found negative correlations between LA strain with NYHA class, mMRC scale, LAVI, ESR and CRP; meanwhile, there were significant positive correlations between LA strain with exercise duration and METs.

CONCLUSION: post Covid patients presented with persistent dyspnea demonstrated low functional capacity evidenced by different scores and stress ECG. Moreover, patients with post Covid syndrome showed elevated inflammatory biomarkers, LV diastolic dysfunction in addition to impaired LA strain functions. Impairment of LA strain was closely correlated to different functional scores, inflammatory biomarkers, exercise duration, and METs suggesting that these could to be the possible etiologies for the persistence of post Covid symptoms.

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