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


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 14th and September 15th, 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 peakwork rate was preserved with 131±29 W (92.4% predicted). Mean alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient (AaDO2) 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.



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Conflict of interest statement
Laura Dannerbeck, Dr. Pfeifer and Dr. Koch have nothing to disclose; Dr. Mohr reports grants from Gilead Sciences, outside the submitted work; Dr. Lange reports personal fees from Actelion, personal fees from Janssen-Cilag, personal fees from BMS, personal fees from MSD, personal fees from Pfizer, personal fees from GSK, personal fees from Acceleron Pharma, outside the submitted work; Dr. Blaas reports personal fees and non-financial support from Roche, personal fees and non-financial support from Boehringer Ingelheim, non-financial support from Teva, personal fees and non-financial support from Bayer, non-financial support from Gilead, personal fees and non-financial support from Novartis, personal fees from Merck Serono, non-financial support from Lucane Pharma, non-financial support from Actelion, non-financial support from CSL Behring, non-financial support from Vertex, outside the submitted work; Dr. Salzberger reports personal fees from Roche Ag, personal fees from Sanofi, personal fees from Falk Foundation, outside the submitted work;. Dr. Hitzenbichler reports grants from Gilead Sciences, personal fees from MSD, outside the submitted work
CPET, COVID-19, postdischarge dyspnoea, post-COVID-19 syndrome
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How to Cite
Mohr, A., Dannerbeck, L., Lange, T. J., Pfeifer, M., Blaas, S., Salzberger, B., Hitzenbichler, F., & Koch, M. (2021). Cardiopulmonary exercise pattern in patients with persistent dyspnoea after recovery from COVID-19. Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine, 16.