1 in 10 Covid-19 positive patients visit hospital within a week of discharge: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 18, 2020 Published on September 18, 2020

The factors that drove people to return to hospital include lower pulse oximetry levels, fever, weakness

A study published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine has suggested that one in 10 coronavirus positive patients revisited the hospital within a week of discharge.

For the study, the researchers examined more than 1,400 patients from Philadelphia, United States, who were admitted to hospital during the initial three months of the outbreak.

According to the researchers, the factors that drove people to return to hospital include lower pulse oximetry levels, fever, and weakness.

The study’s lead author Austin Kilaru from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, in the US, said in a statement: “We hope this study helps emergency clinicians have more informed conversations with patients suspected to have Covid-19.”

Kilaru added: “It can be difficult to make this diagnosis and send patients home without knowing if they will get sick in the coming days. This study gives clinicians a few signposts to know how often and when patients may need to return, and what risk factors to pay attention to.”

Also read: Post-Covid, don’t drop your guard

The researchers analysed 1,419 patients who visited a hospital’s emergency department (ED) between March 1 and May 28, 2020, and were discharged and tested positive for Covid-19 in the seven days surrounding that visit.

According to the study, 4.7 per cent of the patients returned to the hospital and were admitted within just three days for their initial ED visit. An additional 3.9 per cent were hospitalised within a week. In total, the researchers said 8.6 per cent of patients were coming back to the hospital after their first ED visit due to Covid-19.

Kilaru mentioned: “We were surprised with the overall rate that patients return and need admission, which is twice that of other illnesses.”

“The concern is not that emergency physicians are making wrong decisions, but rather that Covid-19 can be unpredictable and turn severe rather quickly,” he added.

The study noted that patients over 60 were five times more likely to be hospitalised within a week of discharge than patients in the 18 to 39 years age range.

The study observed that people in the 40 to 59 age range were three times as likely to require hospitalisation than the younger group.

Researchers stated that patients of any age with low pulse oximetry readings were about four times as likely to require hospitalisation upon return as compared to those with higher readings.

They said patients with fever were more than three times likely to be hospitalised compared to those without it.

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Published on September 18, 2020
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