Cardiopulmonary exercise pattern in patients with persistent dyspnoea after recovery from COVID-19.

Mohr A; Dannerbeck L; Lange TJ; Pfeifer M; Blaas S; Salzberger B; Hitzenbichler F; Koch M;

Multidisciplinary respiratory medicine [Multidiscip Respir Med] 2021 Jan 25; Vol. 16 (1), pp. 732. Date of Electronic Publication: 2021 Jan 25 (Print Publication: 2021).

Cause and mechanisms of persistent dyspnoea after recovery from COVID-19 are not well described. The objective is to describe causal factors for persistent dyspnoea in patients after COVID-19. We examined patients reporting dyspnoea after recovery from COVID-19 by cardiopulmonary exercise testing. After exclusion of patients with pre-existing lung diseases, ten patients (mean age 50±13.1 years) were retrospectively analysed between May 14 th and September 15 th , 2020. On chest computed tomography, five patients showed residual ground glass opacities, and one patient showed streaky residua. A slight reduction of the mean diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide was noted in the cohort. Mean peak oxygen uptake was reduced with 1512±232 ml/min (72.7% predicted), while mean peak work rate was preserved with 131±29 W (92.4% predicted). Mean alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient (AaDO 2 ) at peak exercise was 25.6±11.8 mmHg. Mean value of lactate post exercise was 5.6±1.8 mmol/l. A gap between peak work rate in (92.4% predicted) to peak oxygen uptake (72.3% pred.) was detected in our study cohort. Mean value of lactate post exercise was high in our study population and even higher (n.s.) compared to the subgroup of patients with reduced peak oxygen uptake and other obvious reason for limitation. Both observations support the hypothesis of anaerobic metabolism. The main reason for dyspnoea may therefore be muscular.