Les effets à moyen et long terme de l’infection par le COVID-19 sur la fonction pulmonaire sont encore inconnus. La présente étude visait à examiner les fonctions pulmonaires des professionnels de la santé qui présentaient des plaintes persistantes après avoir contracté le COVID-19 et avoir repris le travail.
Introduction and Purpose The medium- and long-term effects of COVID-19 infection on pulmonary function are still unknown. The present study aimed to investigate the pulmonary functions in healthcare professionals who had persistent complaints after contracting COVID-19 and returning to work. Methods The study included COVID-19-infected healthcare professionals from the Düzce University Medical Faculty Hospital who volunteered to participate. Medical histories, medical records, pulmonary function tests, the diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO) test, and the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) were used to collect data from all participants. Results The study included 53 healthcare professionals, with an average age of 38 ± 10 years (min: 24 years and max: 71 years), including 29 female (54.7%) and 24 male (45.3%) participants. Of the participants, 22.6% were smokers, 35.8% (19 individuals) had comorbidities, and 17% (9 individuals) were hospitalized. The mean length of stay was 9 ± 4 days (mean ± standard deviation). The most prevalent symptoms were weakness (88.7%), muscle aches (67.9%), inability to smell/taste (60.4%), headache (54.7%), fever (45.3%), cough (41.5%), and shortness of breath (37.7%). The mean time to return to work after a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 was 18 ± 13 days. The average time among post-disease pulmonary function, 6MW, and DLCO tests was 89 ± 36 days (min: 15 and max: 205). The DLCO level decreased in 39.6% (21) of the participants. Female participants had a significantly higher rate of decreased DLCO levels than male participants (25% vs. 55.2%, p = 0.026). DLCO levels were significantly higher in participants with long-term persistent complaints (p = 0.043). The later the time to return to work, the lower the DLCO value (r = −0.290 and p = 0.035). The 6MWT distance was positively correlated with hemoglobin and lymphocyte levels at the time of the disease onset and negatively correlated with D-dimer levels. The most prevalent symptoms during the control visits were shortness of breath/effort dyspnea (24.6%), weakness (9.5%), and muscle aches (7.6%). Conclusion Significant persistent complaints (47.2%) and low DLCO levels (39.6%) were observed in healthcare professionals during control visits at a mean time of 3 months after the COVID-19 infection. Symptoms and spirometry measurements, including DLCO, may be helpful in the follow-up of healthcare professionals who contracted COVID-19. Further comprehensive studies with long-term follow-up periods are required.