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Abnormal Ventilatory Patterns Common After COVID-19 Infection

Patients with postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection also have circulatory impairment, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue

THURSDAY, Dec. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For patients with postacute sequelae of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 infection (PASC), circulatory impairment, abnormal ventilatory patterns, and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are common, according to a study published in the December issue of JACC: Heart Failure.

Noting that about 20 percent of patients who recover from COVID-19 remain symptomatic, Donna M. Mancini, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues performed cardiopulmonary exercise testing and symptom assessment for ME/CFS in 41 patients (18 men and 23 women) with PASC after COVID-19.

The researchers found that 58.5 percent of the patients had a peak oxygen consumption (VO2) <80 percent of predicted, all of whom had a circulatory limitation to exercise. Of the 17 patients with normal peak VO2, 15 had ventilatory abnormalities, including peak respiratory rate >55 or dysfunctional breathing (three and 12, respectively). Eighty-eight percent of the whole cohort had ventilatory abnormalities with dysfunctional breathing, increased slope of minute ventilation to carbon dioxide production, and/or hypocapnia end tidal pressure of carbon dioxide. The criteria for ME/CFS were met by 19 of the patients.

“These findings suggest that in a subgroup of long haulers, hyperventilation and/or dysfunctional breathing may underlie their symptoms,'” Mancini said in a statement. “This is important as these abnormalities may be addressed with breathing exercises or ‘retraining.”

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