People affected by post-COVID-19 fatigue recover more slowly than those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome

The researcher of the Biological Foundations of Mental Disorders group and head of the Central Sensitisation Syndrome section at the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida, Lluís Rosselló, has presented the study

‘Evaluation of respiratory, metabolic and metabolomic physiological characteristics in patients with fatigue post COVID-19, compared to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome', this is the title of the project led by the researcher of the Biological Foundations of Mental Disorders group of the Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida (IRBLleida) and head of the Central Sensitization Syndrome section of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida, Lluís Rosselló. The first conclusions of the study indicate that there are important differences between the physiological and metabolic assessments between COVID-19 patients and those with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy patients, pending the metabolomic study that could provide more information on the mechanisms.

To date it has been observed that people who have passed the COVID-19 have lower oxygen utilisation values than those of chronic fatigue syndrome, already described in our previous studies; that most of the COVID-19 group do not reach the level of maximum effort due to muscle claudication, and that post-exertion recovery is slower than the other two groups, as explained Rosselló, at a press conference at the Diputació de Lleida with the president of the Diputació de Lleida, Joan Talarn, accompanied by the deputy of Public Health, Albert Bajona.

The study aims to help identify the still unknown pathophysiological pathway of chronic fatigue syndrome, and to guide research to discover possible new indicators for a more objective diagnosis of people affected by chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as to open new therapeutic lines for people affected by both COVID-19 and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Rosselló shares responsibilities as principal investigator with Reinald Pamplona, Professor of Physiology at the University of Lleida and head of the Metabolic Physiopathology research group at IRBLleida, and has the following researchers:

  • Dr. Josep Blázquez: graduate in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.
  • Dr. Gonzalo Gil: graduate in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and lecturer at the National Institute of Physical Education of Catalonia (INEFC) Lleida.
  • Dr. Mariona Jové: lecturer in Physiology at IRBLleida and UdL.
  • Dr. Joan Palmi: lecturer in Psychology at INEFC Lleida.
  • Dr. Fernando Pifarré: director of the Sports Medicine Centre of the CCE Lleida, and lecturer at the Faculty of Physiotherapy.
  • Dr. Antoni Planas: lecturer at INEFC Lleida.
  • Dr. Joan Antoni Prat: former lecturer at INEFC Lleida and the Andròmeda Foundation.
  • Francesc Reig: lecturer at INEFC Lleida
  • Dr. Xavier Sanuy: lecturer at INEFC Lleida

The work has been done on 22 people from a post COVID-19 group, 22 patients with symptoms of chronic fatigue, and 22 healthy people with a cycloergonomic stress test at the CAP Onze de Setembre de Lleida; gas analysis and electrocardiographic control (protocol established by the WHO); a 6-minute mobility test while walking, and a metabolomic analysis, with extraction, analysis and storage of samples by the IRBLleida.

The work plan began last October 2020, with the selection of participants. Subsequently, in December, the patients were visited and the clinical history was opened. In January 2021, the physiology laboratory tests were started, as well as the serology by COVID 19 and the start of the metabolic analysis. By June, we expect to have finished the evaluation tests, the creation of the database, the statistical analysis, and the preparation for writing articles if the results come back.

This research is part of the scientific research programme in the field of health that is being carried out in the Lleida area and is supported by the Lleida Provincial Council's Health Department in collaboration with the IRBLleida and the University of Lleida.

The presentation of the study took place at the Diputació de Lleida.