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COVID-19: Increased risk of death or readmission after hospitalization

A new study finds that people hospitalized for COVID-19 have an increased risk of death or readmission afterwards.

COVID-19 patient readmitted to hospital

The risk of death is 4-5 times higher for COVID-19 patients after release than for the general public.

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Are some people at a higher risk than others?

The risk of death after hospitalization for COVID-19 is the highest for people with preexisting dementia. People who have been hospitalized for other diseases are about half as likely to die of any cause. This is in comparison to people who received  COVID-19 treatment. Read more about it here.

Receiving COVID-19 treatment at a hospital and being released is not guaranteed survival.

“People who have survived at least 1 week after release from the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to die or return to the hospital over the following several months than the general population.”

People with dementia may be more vulnerable simply because of hospitalization.

Experiencing critical illness and hospitalization at the same time can accelerate “cognitive decline.”

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Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran, professor of statistical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and lead author of this study made a comment.

Bhaskaran said, “this won’t be entirely due to lasting effects of the virus — we know that COVID-19 picks on more vulnerable people in the first place, plus there are generic adverse consequences of being seriously ill and hospitalized. Hence, the risks were more similar when we compared [them with those for] hospitalized flu patients.”

The risks were compared using National Health Service (NHS) England’s OpenSAFELY data. Data from 24,673 patients who had been hospitalized for COVID-19, 123,362 individuals for a general population control group, and 16,058 people who had been hospitalized for the flu was analyzed.

The researchers tracked the patients for 315 days after hospitalization. The authors write: “COVID-19 patients had higher risks of all-cause mortality, readmission or death due to the initial infection, and dementia death, highlighting the importance of post-discharge monitoring.”

Pre-discharge risk assessment and post discharge monitoring could greatly reduce some of the risks.

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