The first week and a half after leaving the hospital are at high risk for COVID-19 patients, including return trips to the hospital and death, according to a study. The researchers found that COVID-19 patients were 40 to 60 percent higher risk of ending up in hospital or dying in the first 10 days than similar patients who were in the same hospitals for heart failure or pneumonia in the same months were treated.
The study, published in the journal JAMA, found that the overall risk of COVID-19 patients for readmission or death at the end of 60 days was lower than that for the other two serious illnesses.
Post-hospital results for nearly 2,200 veterans who survived hospitalization in 132 hospitals for COVID-19 were compared with results for nearly 1,800 similar patients who survived hospitalization for unrelated pneumonia and 3,500 who have favourited One Heart Survived Residency.
In the first two months, 9 percent of COVID-19 patients who survived the hospital stay had died, and nearly 20 percent had suffered a setback that sent them back to the hospital, the researchers said.
That was in addition to the 18.5 percent who died during their hospital stay, they said.
“When we compare the long-term results of COVID-19 patients with those of other seriously ill patients, we see a pattern of above-average risk in the first week or two, which can be a risky time for anyone,” said John P. Donnelly , the study’s lead author and epidemiologist at the University of Michigan in the United States.
All but 5 percent of the patients were male and half were black, which is not nationally representative, but rather focuses on two high-risk groups.
Within the veterans studied, the only factor that made a significant difference in the results was age, the researchers said.
About half of veterans in their 70s and 80s died in the 60 days after leaving the hospital.
The 2,179 COVID-19 patients spent a total of 27,496 days in the hospital and the 354 veterans who were readmitted spent a total of 3,728 additional days in the hospital.
The most common reasons for re-hospitalization were COVID-19 (30 percent of patients) and sepsis (8.5 percent).
More than 22 percent of re-admitted veterans went to intensive care, they added.
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