A study conducted by researchers and Mark Jones, M.D. from University of Southampton, England and NIHR Southampton biomedical Research Center states that a third of patients who had severe COVID-19 have lung changes or related conditions a year after being discharged from the hospital. It is reported in McKnights that this study states patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may find relief from prolonged symptoms through a tailored clinical follow-up or an exercise program. This type of treatment or pulmonary rehab may be able to help prevent chronic disease.
In this study, Dr. Jones and researchers studied 83 patients for a year after they were discharged from the hospital. Approximately 5% of the patients reported continued breathlessness even a year after the discharge. Additionally, about 33% had reduced lung function of which most were women. CT scans were conducted which showed physical changes in small areas of the lung.
It is suggested that targeted exercise programs can help prevent long-term lung changes caused by COVID-19 related pneumonia. Patients should have respiratory follow-ups after being discharged from the hospital. Further research can help understand whether exercise programs can help patients recover faster since the effects of COVID-19 have shown to last over a year in these cases.