The first week and a half after hospital discharge are the most dangerous for COVID-19 patients, according to a new study.
The researchers found that they were about 40 percent more likely to be hospitalized or die within 10 days of their departure than people with pneumonia or heart failure.
However, after 60 days, the risk of readmission or death of COVID-19 patients was lower than the risk of patients with other fatal diseases.
The Michigan Medicine team says the results provide evidence that doctors and nurses should be incredibly diligent with coronavirus patients for the first few days after they are discharged.
A new study by Michigan Medicine compared approximately 2,220 coronavirus-treated veterans with 1,600 non-COVID-related pneumonia patients and 3,500 heart failure patients. Pictured: Dr. Rafik Abdou (right) and breathing therapist Babu Paramban are examining a COVID-19 patient at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Nov. 19
Almost 14% of COVID-19 patients were hospitalized or died within 10 days of being discharged, compared to 9.7% of pneumonia patients
In addition, 8.8% of patients with heart failure were resumed or died after 10 days. However, after 60 days, 37% of heart failure survivors were re-hospitalized or died compared to 27% of survivors with COVID-19
“Unfortunately, this is further evidence that COVID-19 is not” one and the same “,” said co-author Dr. Theodore Iwashyna, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan.
‘For many patients, COVID-19 appears to trigger cascades of problems that are just as severe as those we see with other diseases.
“But too little of our healthcare response – and too little research – is meant to help these patients recover from COVID-19 for days, weeks, or even months.”
For the study, published in JAMA, the team looked at nearly 2,200 veterans treated for COVID-19 in 132 VA hospitals and discharged between March 1 and July 1.
Her post-hospital results were compared with those of nearly 1,600 patients without COVID-related pneumonia and 3,500 patients with heart failure during the same period.
A total of 95 percent of the patients were male and half identified as African American.
While not representative of the general population, both men and blacks are two groups at high risk of serious illness and death from the virus.
In 30 percent of the cases, the coronavirus was the most common reason for re-hospitalization, followed by sepsis, a life-threatening illness in which the immune system attacks itself, which is the case in 8.5 percent of the cases.
Approximately 22 percent of the readmitted veterans had to be placed in intensive care units, and 7.1 percent were given mechanical ventilation.
Compared to patients with pneumonia and heart failure, the results showed that COVID-19 patients had higher readmission or death rates within the first 10 days after discharge.
About 14 percent of coronavirus patients were hospitalized or died within 10 days of discharge, compared with 9.7 percent of pneumonia patients and 8.8 percent of heart failure patients.
This means that COVID-19 patients were between 30 and 37 percent more likely to have worse results than patients with other diseases.
After 60 days, coronavirus survivors had a 27 percent lower rate of 60-day readmission or fatalities than 31.7 percent for pneumonia survivors and 37 percent for heart failure survivors.
‘If 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 the first author Dr. John Donnelly, an epidemiologist in the Department of Learning Health Sciences at Michigan Medicine
“Now the question is what to do about it. How can we design better discharge plans for these patients? How can we tailor our communication and aftercare to their needs? And how can we help their carers to prepare and deal with it? ‘