THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Long-term organ damage appears to be common in hospitalized COVID-19 patients after they’ve recovered and been discharged, British researchers report.
One U.S. expert who read over the report said she’s seen the same in her practice.
“This study proves that the damage done is not just to the lungs, but can affect the heart, the brain and the kidneys, as well,” said Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, who directs critical care services at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
She said that “care should be taken to counsel patients as they are discharged to be aware of these other possible abnormalities that can occur.”
The U.K. research team noted that — along with causing serious respiratory problems — COVID-19 appears to be able to affect other organs, including the heart, kidneys and liver. But the overall long-term pattern of organ damage in COVID-19 patients was still unclear, so researchers led by Amitava Banerjee of University College London decided to investigate.
The team assessed organ damage in more than 47,700 COVID-19 patients (average age 65) who were hospitalized in England and discharged before September of last year. Those clinical findings were compared to those from a matched “control group” taken from the general population.
The researchers tracked rates of hospital readmission among the COVID-19 patients and the control group, as well as death from any cause. They also tracked any new diagnoses of respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, kidney and liver diseases in both groups until the end of September 2020.
Over an average follow-up of 140 days, nearly one-third of COVID-19 patients were readmitted to the hospital, and more than one in 10 died after discharge, Banerjee’s group found.
Overall, COVID-19 patients’ rates of 766 readmissions and 320 deaths per 1,000 person-years were four and eight times greater, respectively, than those observed in the control group.
The researchers also found that COVID-19 patients’ rates of new diagnoses of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes were 27, 3 and 1.5 times greater, respectively, than those observed in the control group.