The impact of Long COVID Syndrome treatment and rehabilitation: systematic review and meta-analysis of patient-reported outcomes
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Institute for Collective Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A352
Background and Objective: COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented public health crisis, in which efforts mostly focused on containment and treatment of acute disease. However, important disease sequelae are increasingly reported by clinicians and addressed in terms of treatment and rehabilitation needs. The long COVID syndrome (or post-COVID-19 condition) is a still poorly investigated condition, which makes the patients’ subjective evaluation of symptoms via Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) vital. The aim is to evaluate treatment and rehabilitation interventions for long COVID management, through PROMs. Methods: A systematic review was performed querying Medline, Scopus and WebOfScience databases, according to the following inclusion criteria: evidence involving patients of all age groups diagnosed with long COVID syndrome, undergoing several physical and/or psychological interventions, and using PROMs to collect patients’ feedback. For each type of intervention meta-analyses were computed adopting the Paule-Mandel random-effects model, while T-tests were performed to investigate differences in efficacy between rehabilitation and treatment. All statistical analyses were conducted using statistical software STATA. Results: Out of 481 papers retrieved, 16 met the inclusion criteria. Most frequently used PROMs were Euro-QL-5D, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Perceived Stress Scale. Efficacy of physical interventions (SMD 0.29 95% CI 0.12–0.51), psychological ones (SMD 0.17 95% CI 0.05–0.36) and both (SMD 0.35 95% 0.18–0.71) was consistently proved. Evidence supported the efficacy of online-delivered interventions for all the categories; no statistical differences were found regarding the positive impact of both rehabilitation and treatment for all interventions (p>0.05). Conclusions: There is promising evidence regarding Long COVID treatment and rehabilitation impact on patients’ quality of life and general well-being. This paper partially fills a literature gap on an actual and potentially persistent public health matter regarding the chronic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, although further studies are needed.
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