Cardiorespiratory physiology, exertional symptoms, and psychological burden in post-COVID-19 fatigue.

Schaeffer MR; Cowan J; Milne KM; Puyat JH; Voduc N; Lavoie KL; Mulloy A; Chirinos JA; Abdallah SJ; Guenette JA;

Respiratory physiology & neurobiology [Respir Physiol Neurobiol] 2022 Mar 29; Vol. 302, pp. 103898.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Mar 29.

Fatigue is a common, debilitating, and poorly understood symptom post-COVID-19. We sought to better characterize differences in those with and without post-COVID-19 fatigue using cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Despite elevated dyspnoea intensity ratings, V̇O 2 peak (ml/kg/min) was the only significant difference in the physiological responses to exercise (19.9 ± 7.1 fatigue vs. 24.4 ± 6.7 ml/kg/min non-fatigue, p = 0.04). Consistent with previous findings, we also observed a higher psychological burden in those with fatigue in the context of similar resting cardiopulmonary function. Our findings suggest that lower cardiorespiratory fitness and/or psychological factors may contribute to post-COVID-19 fatigue symptomology. Further research is needed for rehabilitation and symptom management following SARS-CoV-2 infection.