COVID-19 long-term recovery program shows promising results
The patients also experienced a “moderate improvement” in functioning and better quality of life.
The pacing program is run by the long-term COVID-19 service at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and evaluated by clinicians and scientists at the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. The study results are reported today (December 16) in the Journal of Medical Virology.
Writing in the paper, the team says the program, which includes supervised increased physical activity, has the potential to be an effective treatment option.
Dr Manoj Sivan, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and lead research and service assessment for the service Persistent COVID-19 at the Leeds Community Healthcare Trust, which oversaw the course of the research project.
“When patients have an accident, they experience a feeling of complete exhaustion, exhaustion and being unable to continue activities for hours or sometimes days.
“The findings of this study are exciting because this is the first time that bursts have been used as a marker for disease conditions, and a structured pacing program has now been shown to significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.”
Rate of return to physical activity
Thirty-one people with persistent COVID took part in the six-week study in Leeds. On average, they had experienced a long period of COVID-19 infection for about 17 months prior to joining the program. They suffered from a range of symptoms along with fatigue, including brain fog, shortness of breath, headaches and palpitations.
Patients follow a program that gradually returns to physical activity known as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) CR-10 Borg pacing protocol, which takes them through five activity levels. They watch the show at home.
The first phase is preparing to return to activity and includes gentle breathing and stretching exercises. The fifth stage involves activities the patient did before the illness, such as exercising or playing sports regularly.
Throughout the program, patients received weekly phone calls from their longtime COVID clinician to check on their progress. They were required to stay at each level for at least seven days and not be overexcited, so their condition remained stable.
The patients completed questionnaires to assess their level of exertion and breakdown each week before making a decision whether to move on to the next level of the pacing protocol.
This protocol was developed for the World Health Organization by Dr. Sivan and his team. Dr Sivan is WHO advisor on long-term COVID-19 recovery policy in Europe.
Over six weeks, there were not only reductions in crashes, but also improvements in activity levels and quality of life. In terms of long-lasting relief from COVID-19 symptoms, the biggest benefit noted was reduced fatigue, shortness of breath, and headaches.
Legacy of Long COVID-19
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, nearly two million people in the UK have had COVID-19 for a long time, with symptoms lasting more than four weeks. The slump or exhaustion that people feel after exertion can begin 12 to 48 hours after activity and can last for days and, in rare cases, even weeks. .
But the researchers point out that clinicians supporting long-term COVID-19 patients still lack awareness that a gradual or paced return to physical activity can aid recovery.
Writing in the journal, they note: “This study complements current understanding by demonstrating the potential of a structured pacing protocol to progressively improve activity levels… However, current advice on safely returning to physical activity without exacerbating their symptoms is unclear, with patients reporting varying advice from specialists. health care.”
Dr Sivan’s research team has been at the forefront of new initiatives for the long-term treatment of COVID-19. They developed the first scale to standardize the measurement of persistent COVID-19 symptoms, now developed into a mobile app, used by patients, linked to a platform web is used by the clinicians treating them. NHS England recommends using a digital system in extended NHS COVID-19 services.
Researchers are also conducting a large UK platform study called LOCOMOTION that is developing a gold standard of care for this condition.