More than 40 COVID-19 patients still suffer from “fatigue syndrome” a year after recovery: POLYU study

2022-05-24 0 By

Hong Kong, March 23 (CNS) — A study conducted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has found that more than 40% of COVID-19 patients still suffer from “fatigue syndrome” 12 months after their diagnosis.To this end, PolyU has devised a “Recovery 8” training programme to help COVID-19 survivors regain their health.As the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out last year, most COVID-19 patients recover, but some develop symptoms such as breathing difficulties, fatigue and cognitive impairment within months of recovery. These long-term effects are collectively referred to as the “long-term effects of COVID-19”.A team from PolyU’s Department of Rehabilitation Sciences has been conducting a follow-up study on COVID-19 patients since October 2020, tracking the recovery of patients referred from five local hospitals at 6 and 12 months after diagnosis.Researchers used interviews and videos to assess their cardiopulmonary function, fitness, fatigue and quality of life through specific tests.The team found that six and 12 months after diagnosis, more than 40 percent of 118 subjects in the study were still suffering from symptoms of COVID-19, such as fatigue and muscle weakness in lower limbs, which affected their daily life.Specifically, about 42 percent of the study subjects developed “fatigue syndrome” within six months of diagnosis, and about 43 percent of the study subjects still had “fatigue syndrome” 12 months after diagnosis.The results showed no significant change in fatigue scores between six and 12 months after diagnosis.Most COVID-19 survivors think they have recovered and are complacent about their feelings of fatigue, or that their fatigue will ease over time, says Ms Fu Siu-a, professor and associate Head of Pain Management at PolyU’s Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, who led the study.After conducting various tests, they found that their fatigue symptoms were linked to poor heart and lung function and weak muscles in their lower limbs.With appropriate rehabilitation programs, the situation can be improved.To help COVID-19 survivors regain their health, the PolyU team has developed a six-week training programme.The programme consists of the “Recovery 8” exercise designed by the PolyU team. It consists of eight movements designed to exercise different muscle groups throughout the body and promote cardiopulmonary and muscle health.Under the guidance of PolyU physiotherapists, they received two 60-minute training classes and three 30-minute home exercises each week to improve their lung capacity and muscle strength.After completing the six-week training, most of the 24 COVID-19 survivors showed improvements in lung capacity and lower limb strength, as well as improvements in fatigue: nearly seven in 10 showed improvements in lung capacity;More than 60 percent of the patients had muscle enhancement in their lower limbs;Three quarters of those who recover from “fatigue syndrome” return to normal.(Reporter Han Sung-dong)