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Chances of Long COVID Still High

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COVID
Courtesy of Rick Kimpel (Flickr CC0)

Studies have shown that even mild cases of COVID symptoms could linger for several months. Scientists warned sufferers to take precautions even if symptoms are mild.

The study conducted followed 465 hospitalized COVID patients who exhibited symptoms and were over the age of 18. These patients were hospitalized with the virus at the Verona University Hospital in Italy between February 29 and May 2, 2020. twenty-eight days later, 42 percent of the patients were still reporting symptoms. This is the long COVID.

The virus has a lingering impact on multiple organs and systems. Thus far, the follow-up with COVID patients has been one year. This particular study is a two-year follow-up with patients who have survived hospitalization. After two years, most of the patients had returned to work, however, their health status remained lower than the general population. According to these results, there is an urgent need to continue research to prevent the long-term effects of COVID.

Another new study indicates that nine percent of hospitalized COVID victims return to the hospital within a month of discharge. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Monday. It followed 46,412 hospitalized adults in Alberta and Ontario. The study began at the beginning of the pandemic. According to the study, 8,486 COVID patients died in the hospital between January 2020 and October 2021. This was higher than the rate of death for other respiratory tract infections.

Among the patients who were discharged, nine percent returned to the hospital within 30 days and two percent passed away. These patients were admitted to the hospital for 30 days or less. Those who remained longer were at an even higher rate of readmission, according to the research published.

Researchers were unsure if the length of hospitalization of the COVID patients had an impact on lingering symptoms initially, however, it was determined there was no link between the length of hospital stay and readmission. This was reported by Dr. Finlay McAlister who is a professor of general internal medicine for the University of Alberta. He is the co-author of the paper submitted to the Canadian Medical Association. It was determined patients were not being sent home too early. Additionally, most of these patients were discharged into long-term care facilities or with home care.

COVID
Courtesy of ILO Asia-Pacific (Flickr CC0)

It was also discovered that socioeconomic status was a factor. McAlister noted that hospitals regularly use a scoring system called LACE to predict outcomes. The predicting factors include length of stay, age, comorbidities, and previous emergency room visits. However, he said this was not “a good predictor for COVID patients who had been released from the hospital.”

…socio-economic deprivation seems to be even more important for COVID than for other medical conditions.

The socioeconomic factor could help doctors determine who needs help after transitioning home from the hospital after COVID. LACE, on its own, is not a strong predictor of who may return to the hospital or who may die from the virus. However, if other factors are added, such as what neighborhood the patient resides in and the sex of the patient created a 12 percent higher accuracy rate, according to co-author Dr. Amol Verma, an internal medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Half of the patients who returned were readmitted due to breathing issues, which is the most common long-term symptom. However, he admits the breathing problems could be related to an underlying or previous condition. It is apparent that COVID has a long-term impact on many patients who were hospitalized with the virus and even those who were not. Two years later, these patients were still struggling with lasting symptoms.

The time period for which researchers were investigating pre-dated Omnicron but scientists said there is no reason to think the impact is any different. There is more research that needs to be conducted, however, and it will be ongoing.

Written by Jeanette Vietti

Sources:

Times of India: Long Coronavirus: 2 COVID Symptoms That Could Last For Nine Months Or More
The Lancet: Health outcomes in people 2 years after surviving hospitalisation with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study; by Lixue Huang, MD; Xia Li, MD; Xiaoying Gu, PhD; Hui Zhang, MD; LiLi Ren, PhD; Li Guo, PhD
CTV News: About 11 per cent of admitted COVID patients return to hospital or die within 30 days: study

Featured Image Courtesy of Rick Kimpel‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of ILO Asia-Pacific‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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