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Case report
Postacute inpatient rehabilitation for COVID-19
  1. Mia X Shan1,2,
  2. Yen M Tran1,
  3. Kim T Vu1,2 and
  4. Blessen C Eapen1,2
  1. 1Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mia X Shan; miaxinshan{at}


This case describes the successful pulmonary rehabilitation of a premorbidly independent female in the early 80s who was admitted for acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to COVID-19 requiring 14 days of intubation. Patient was admitted to the acute rehabilitation unit 1 month after hospitalisation. Patient initially had poor endurance and was only able to ambulate with a front wheel walker for 150 feet, and also had tachycardia and decreased oxygen saturation after ambulation. During patient’s rehabilitation course, therapy was focused on improving activity tolerance. Ten days after admission, patient was able to ambulate without an assistive device for 250 feet and with a rollator for over 900 feet. Patient also showed improvement in gait speed, heart rate, oxygen saturation after ambulation and incentive spirometer volume. This case demonstrates that pulmonary rehabilitation is an important component of inpatient care for patients with COVID-19 to improve functional exercise capacity and aerobic capacity.

  • pneumonia (respiratory medicine)
  • physiotherapy (rehabilitation)
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • geriatric medicine

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  • Contributors MXS was involved with informed consent, literature review, manuscript write-up and patient management. YMT was involved in treatment as a therapist. KTV was involved with case identification and managed the patient as an attending. BCE was involved with literature review and review of manuscript as the senior author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.