IntroductionThe potential additive benefits of rehabilitation beyond spontaneous recovery post-COVID-19 currently remain unknown.MethodsIn this prospective, interventional, non-randomised parallel assignment two-arm study, we investigated the effects of an 8-week rehabilitation programme (Rehab, n=25) added to usual care (UC) versus UC (n=27) on respiratory symptoms, fatigue, functional capacity, mental health and health-related quality of life in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, 6-8 weeks post-hospital discharge. The rehabilitation programme included exercise, education, dietary and psychological support. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory and heart failure were excluded from the study.ResultsAt baseline, groups were not different in mean age (56 years), gender (53% female), intensive care unit admission (61%), intubation (39%), days of hospitalisation (25), number of symptoms (9) and number of comorbidities (1.4). Baseline evaluation was conducted at median (IQR) 76 (27) days after symptoms onset. Groups were not different regarding baseline evaluation outcomes. At 8 weeks, Rehab showed significantly greater improvement in COPD Assessment Test by a mean±SEM (95% CI) 7.07±1.36 (4.29-9.84), p and all three fatigue questionnaires: Chalder-Likert: 5.65±1.27 (3.04-8.25), p Anxiety: 2.93±1.01 (0.67-5.18), p=0.013; Beck Depression Inventory: 7.81±3.07 (1.52-14.09), p=0.017; Montreal Cognitive Assessment: 2.83±0.63 (1.5-4.14), p DiscussionThese findings highlight the added value of rehabilitation post-COVID-19 to amplify the natural course of physical and mental recovery that otherwise would remain incomplete with UC.