Background: Rehabilitation programs applied in cases of COVID-19-related stroke should counteract not only the effects of the stroke but also the effects of long-term COVID-19. As the molecular processes underlying these cases are still not fully understood, and evidence-based clinical outcomes are scarcely
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Background: Rehabilitation programs applied in cases of COVID-19-related stroke should counteract not only the effects of the stroke but also the effects of long-term COVID-19. As the molecular processes underlying these cases are still not fully understood, and evidence-based clinical outcomes are scarcely documented, there is a valid need to gather information and develop rehabilitation strategies for these patients. The risks, already clarified in the case of stroke, need to be assessed taking into account the coincidence of the two diseases. Endothelial injuries and emboli that develop after the hypercoagulable state of COVID-19 may take longer to heal, and complications may occur during exercise. This case study attempts to determine what the rehabilitation of a COVID-19-related stroke patient should include. The participant was a 64-year-old male with ischemic right middle cerebral artery stroke, left-side hemiplegia, and middle cerebral artery stenosis, and the CT showed a well-defined area of hypoattenuation in the basal ganglia territory involving the right lentiform nucleus, the anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule, and the dorsal part of the external capsule. His NIHSS score was 14, and he registered 15 points on the Barthel index. The patient had a COVID-19 infection two weeks before the stroke event. Methods: Conventional physical therapy was combined with adaptive ballistic strength training, a high-intensity interval training regimen, and manual treatment for myofascial release throughout the chronic recovery phase. Our primary goals were gait rehabilitation, muscle strengthening, weakness management, as well as spasticity reduction, while three different rehabilitation approaches were adopted in a single rehabilitation program to improve the outcome and long-term functional recovery of the patient. Results: The patient progressed in almost every aspect of the assessment criteria. This combined approach’s main success was improved gait speed, gait quality, and improved cardiovascular fitness. Take-away message: In the case of a stroke caused by COVID-19, where the endothelium cells are compromised, HIIT may be questionable due to the poor vascular condition. Based on our results, the low-volume HIIT approach proved appropriate and effective.