The Effect of physical therapy on impairments in COVID-19 patients from intensive care to home rehabilitation: A rapid review
Keywords:COVID-19, physical therapy, rehabilitation
Objective: Guidelines regarding physical therapy for COVID-19 patients are often based on expert opinion. Recent clinical trials have reported effects on several rehabilitation outcomes in COVID-19 patients. This review summarizes the effects of physical therapy in COVID-19 patients.
Data sources: PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus databases were systematically searched for studies investigating the effect of any physical therapy modality on impairments in adult COVID-19 patients. Included studies were (non)-randomized controlled trials, pre-experimental studies, and cohort studies in which a pre–post analysis was performed.
Data extraction: After the screening process, data of interest were extracted from eligible studies and their risk of bias was assessed. Included outcome measures were divided into 3 groups: pulmonary function, physical function, and psychosocial function.
Data synthesis: A total of 15 studies were included in this review. Physical therapy seems to have positive effects on pulmonary function, physical function, and psychosocial function. However, these effects differ between clinical settings (e.g. home care, intensive care unit, inpatient units). Due to the low-to-moderate quality of the included studies, no robust conclusions can be drawn.
Conclusion: Further high-quality research is required, taking into account the different clinical settings, in order to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of physical therapy on impairments in COVID-19 patients.
Guidelines regarding physical therapy for COVID-19 patients are often based on expert opinion or on evidence from studies of physical therapy in patients with other diseases. More and more clinical studies are investigat-ing the effect of physical therapy on the recovery of COVID-19 patients. Prior to this review, the importance of physical therapy for COVID-19 patients was not clear. This review summarizes the effects of physical therapy in COVID-19 patients. We reviewed and assessed the quality of the existing literature on this topic. Fifteen studies with a total of 1,341 COVID-19 patients were included in this review. Physical therapy appears to improve lung function, physical function, and psychosocial func-tion in COVID-19 patients. However, the effect can differ between clinical settings; for example, home care, intensive care unit, or other inpatient units. Due to the low-to-moderate quality of the included studies, no robust conclusion can be drawn. Further high-quality research is needed, taking into account the different clinical settings.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Ruben Debeuf, Eva Swinnen, Tine Plattiau, Ann De Smedt, Elisabeth De Waele, Stijn Roggeman, Marc Schiltz, David Beckwée, Emma De Keersmaecker
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for non-commercial purposes, provided proper attribution to the original work.