An adequate level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is critical for firefighters to perform the strenuous and physiologically demanding work of firefighting safely and effectively.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been shown to negatively impact CRF in both the acute phase and longer-term following infection. This study aimed to determine changes to the CRF of firefighters pre- to post-mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and to investigate the impact of days past COVID-19 infection on change in CRF.
CRF measures from cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) at annual occupational health exams that occurred pre-COVID-19 infection in 2019 were obtained for firefighters from seven Arizona fire departments.
Measures were compared to CPET evaluations from annual health exams the following year in a cohort of firefighters who self-reported mild to moderate illness following COVID-19 infection between exams.
CPET is considered the gold standard for assessing CRF (a proposed vital sign), is important for the assessment of ischemic heart disease, and is a potential tool that could be used more effectively in clinical practice. In addition to directly measuring peak VO2, CPET testing also provides insights into mechanisms that explain exercise intolerance.
The Study conclused that Peak VO2 (ml·kg−1·min−1) declined 7.3% among firefighters an average of 110 days past reporting mild to moderate COVID-19 infection. This decrease has implications for the operational readiness and safety of firefighters.
- Title: The effect of mild to moderate COVID-19 infection on the cardiorespiratory fitness of firefighters.
- Authors: Susanne D'Isabel, Lauren M. Berny, Alex Frost, Chanhtel Thongphok, Kepra Jack, Sundeep Chaudhry, Ross Arena, Denise L. Smith
- Published in: Front. Public Health, 30 November 2023 Sec. Occupational Health and Safety - Volume 11 - 2023
- DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1308605