Hospital discharge doesn’t necessarily mean an ‘all clear’ for COVID-19 patients, according to a new study. Even when compared with cohorts hospitalized for heart failure and pneumonia, COVID-19 patients had a 40% to 60% higher chance of readmission or death within 10 days of discharge.
In the first two months after initial hospitalization, 9% of COVID-19 patients in the study died; and nearly 20% had a complication or issue that sent them back to the hospital. However, there was some positive news. After 60 days, the risk of readmission or death for COVID patients was lower than that for those with heart failure and pneumonia.
Older age was a common characteristic of those COVID patients readmitted to the hospital after 60 days. Most readmissions were related to a COVID-19 diagnosis, sepsis, pneumonia, and/or heart failure. During this hospital stay, nearly a quarter were treated in intensive care, 7.1% were mechanically ventilated, and 7.9% received vasopressors.
Study co-author Theodore Iwashyna, MD, PhD, observed that COVID-19 appears to set off “cascades of problems,” some potentially serious. Unfortunately, he noted, “Too little of our healthcare response is designed to help these patients” over time.
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