COVID-19 patients at 5 times greater risk of death than those with flu; Read details

Washington: COVID-19 is linked to a higher need for ventilators, more intensive care unit admissions, and an almost five-fold risk of death in hospital patients than in those with the flu, according to a study.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in the US found that both COVID-19 and the flu attack the lungs, but the previous viral disease can damage other organs as well.

The latest study, published in the BMJ, shows that COVID-19 was linked to an increased risk of conditions such as acute kidney and liver damage, as well as heart disease, stroke, severe septic shock, low blood pressure, excessive blood clotting and other emerging diabetes .

“There have been many high profile public comparisons between COVID-19 and the flu. For the most part, however, these comparisons were made using different data and statistical methods, which have led to much guesswork, ”said lead study author Ziyad Al-Aly, an assistant professor at Washington University.

“Our research is an apple-to-apple comparison between the two diseases,” said Al-Aly.

The researchers analyzed unidentified medical records in a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the country.

They examined information on 3,641 patients who were hospitalized in the U.S. with COVID-19 from February 1 to June 17, 2020, and 12,676 patients who entered the hospital with the flu from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019 Hospitalized.

The mean age of patients with COVID-19 or the flu was 69 years, the researchers said.

Among patients hospitalized for either COVID-19 or the flu, those infected with the novel coronavirus died almost five times more often than those with influenza.

The study found that of the 12,676 patients with flu, 674 (5.3 percent) and of 3,641 patients with COVID-19, 676 (18.5 percent) died.

On average, COVID-19 patients needed breathing equipment four times more often and almost 2.5 times more often in intensive care, the researchers said.

COVID-19 patients are also more likely to be in hospital longer, an average of three extra days, they said.

The study also found that COVID-19 patients were at higher risk of developing diabetes than flu patients – nine more cases per 100 people.

“These patients did not have diabetes until they got COVID-19,” Al-Aly said.

“Then their blood sugar went up and they needed huge doses of insulin. Is diabetes reversible or does it require long-term treatment? Will it be type 1 or type 2 diabetes? We just don’t know because COVID-19 barely existed a year ago, ”he added.

The finding also showed that the highest-risk COVID-19 patients aged 75 and over, who also had chronic kidney disease or dementia, were African-Americans who were medically obese or had diabetes or kidney disease.

The researchers also found that COVID-19 was linked to a higher risk of acute kidney damage and severe sepsis shock compared to flu – both in an average of six additional cases per 100 hospital patients.

Compared to flu sufferers, people with COVID-19 also needed more medication to treat severely low blood pressure, a condition that can lead to organ damage and death – 11.5 more people per 100 people, the researchers said.

PTI

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