“Pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with post-Covid lung problems”


Hyderabad: Coronavirus disease can cause a wide variety of chronic health problems such as impaired lung function, decreased physical performance, and decreased quality of life in recovering patients.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is effective in reducing symptoms and improving health status, as well as exercise tolerance for patients who suffer from lung problems even after testing negative for Covid-19 a few months ago.

Shortness of breath is one of the main complaints of post-Covid patients, according to Dr VV Ramana Prasad, consultant pulmonologist at KIMS hospital. “Difficulty breathing, weakness or headaches are the most common complaints. A cured patient may experience shortness of breath due to post-Covid pulmonary fibrosis, allergic airway disease, anxious hyperventilation, or even bronchospasm, which mimics asthma. These patients would have no problem resting or sleeping, but they might have difficulty walking or speaking.

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Dr Prasad points out that the recovery period from Covid is between one and three months. “For those with pulmonary fibrosis, we will prescribe antifibrotics. However, about 0.1 percent of severe patients will become completely dependent on oxygen. These patients may also require a bilateral lung transplant.

Prolonged hospitalization or isolation can reduce the amount of exercise during Covid infection, leading to muscle weakness, poor exercise endurance, and fatigue.

Emphasizing the importance of physiotherapy for people requiring pulmonary rehabilitation, Dr Sudhindra Gupta, Consultant, Lifestyle and Rehabilitation, KIMS Hospital, says, “For patients requiring pulmonary rehabilitation, we usually include aerobic exercise. , bodybuilding and breathing.

For patients who receive oxygen at home, we can take activities of daily living (ADL) training, which includes paced activities for basic physical needs including personal hygiene or grooming, l dressing, grooming, transferring or walking and feeding. Apart from this, we also require patients to practice Active Cycle Breathing Technique (ACBT) and autogenous drainage to prevent secondary infections after recovery.

Several patients have also turned to yoga to improve their respiratory functions during the recovery period.

Pratibha Agarwal, founding director of Anahata Yoga Zone, suggests that the patient start slowly. “You can start with simple Pranayama asanas. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and consciously will also help these patients. Several other asanas such as Ustrasana, Supported Fish Bowl, and Cat-Cow Stretch are good for people recovering from Covid.

In fact, stretching your arms to the left and right is also beneficial. Elderly patients, who cannot sit on the floor, can sit on the chair or sofa to do these asanas. Ideally, I would suggest that people practice yoga in the morning, but any other time of the day is fine as well. Only 20 to 30 minutes of dedicated practice each day is enough for a speedy recovery, ”she adds.

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