Clinical characteristics, exercise capacity and pulmonary function in post-COVID-19 competitive athletes

Klara Komici*, Antonio Bianco, Fabio Perrotta, Antonio Dello Iacono, Leonardo Bencivenga, Vito D'Agnano , Aldo Rocca, Andrea Bianco, Giuseppe Rengo, Germano Guerra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Limited evidence exists regarding adverse modifications affecting cardiovascular and pulmonary function in physical active adults affected by COVID-19, especially in athletic populations. We aimed to describe the clinical presentation of COVID-19 in a cohort of competitive athletes, as well as spirometry and echocardiography findings and cardio-respiratory performance during exercise.

Methods: Twenty-four competitive athletes with COVID-19 were recruited for this study after ending self-isolation and confirmation of negative laboratory results. All athletes underwent clinical evaluation, spirometry, echocardiography and cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). These data were compared to a group of healthy control athletes.

Results: Anosmia was the most frequent symptom present in 70.83% patients, followed by myalgia, fatigue and ageusia. The most frequent persisting symptoms were anosmia 11 (45.83%) and ageusia 8 (33.33%). Compared to controls, COVID-19 patients presented lower FEV1%: 97.5 (91.5–108) vs. 109 (106–116) p = 0.007. Peak Oxygen Uptake (VO2) in COVID-19 patients was 50.1 (47.7–51.65) vs. 49 (44.2–52.6) in controls (p = 0.618).

Conclusions: Reduced exercise capacity was not identified and pulmonary and cardiovascular function are not impaired during early recovery phase in a population of physical active adults except FEV1 reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3053
Number of pages13
JournalJ Clin Med
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-19
  • physical exercise
  • CPET


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical characteristics, exercise capacity and pulmonary function in post-COVID-19 competitive athletes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this