One in nine hospitalized COVID-19 patients died or were readmitted to hospital: study
A new study looking at hospitalized COVID-19 patients suggests that 11% of patients were readmitted or died within 30 days after their initial discharge.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, aimed to find how many patients were readmitted to the hospital or died after an acute COVID-19 infection.
The retrospective study looked at data from 46,412 patients who were discharged alive from the hospital after a COVID-19 infection. The study included nonpsychiatric and nonobstetric patients.
The study found that one in nine of the 34,846 patients who were discharged alive were either readmitted to the hospital or died within 30 days of their discharge date. Researchers looked at patients admitted to the hospital between January 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.
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“Identifying risk factors for early readmission or death is important for both the in-hospital clinical team and the primary care physician who reassumes care after discharge, as well as for transition coordinators deciding which patients may benefit from additional resources at discharge to optimize outcomes,” Dr. Finlay McAlister, an author of the study and University of Alberta professor, said in a press release with coauthors.
While this news may seem shocking, according to the researchers, the rate of readmission or death after discharge isn’t higher in COVID-19 patients compared to other medical conditions.
“Despite fears of high rates of readmission after COVID-19 hospitalizations, we found that outcomes in the 30 days after discharge were consistent with admissions for other medical diagnoses,” the authors wrote.
The researchers found that most of the patients who died were older, had comorbidities, and were more likely to be men. Many had previously been hospitalized for other conditions, and when discharged, they often returned to care home facilities.
It’s important to note that the vast majority of the hospitalizations reported in the study were among unvaccinated people, 91% in Alberta and 95% in Ontario. COVID-19 vaccinations were not broadly available to most populations until mid-2021.
The authors emphasized that this study does not reflect the realities of Long COVID, which may not result in hospitalization but can have life-altering health impacts.