Those hospitalized with COVID-19 later at risk for several key symptoms

Those hospitalized with COVID-19 later at risk for several key symptoms

The study, published in BMC Infectious Diseases, analyzed data from approximately 3 million US adults and 675,000 US children to investigate the prevalence of long COVID symptoms following a positive COVID-19 test. The findings revealed that both hospitalized adults and children with a positive COVID-19 test had increased odds of experiencing one or more long COVID symptoms 31 to 150 days after their positive test, with a 17% and 18% increased risk, respectively.

Furthermore, the study found that adults and children who had recovered from COVID-19 had a higher risk of experiencing shortness of breath after recovery, with a 50% and 40% increased risk, respectively.

The researchers utilized electronic health record (EHR) data from 43 sites across the United States, collected from patients who underwent a SARS-CoV-2 laboratory test from March 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021. Hospitalization within 16 days of a positive test served as a proxy for COVID-19 severity.

Among the adults assessed, various conditions were evaluated, including mental health conditions, chronic kidney disorders, diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2, hematologic disorders, major cardiovascular events, neurologic disorders, and respiratory diseases. Both adults and children were also assessed for common post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) symptoms, such as fatigue or muscle weakness, shortness of breath, cough, cognitive disorders, taste and smell disorders, chest pain, heart rate abnormalities, sleep disorders, and muscle pain.

The study found that hospitalized adults with a positive COVID-19 test had increased odds of being diagnosed with three or more symptoms or fatigue compared to those testing negative. Additionally, they were at a higher risk of being newly diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, hematologic disorders, or respiratory diseases.

Among hospitalized patients, respiratory diseases were the most common condition diagnosed, with a 14% incidence among those with a positive test compared to 7% among those testing negative. Overall, COVID-positive adults and children who were hospitalized were more likely to experience long COVID symptoms compared to those who were not hospitalized.

The authors concluded that clinicians and public health agencies should monitor the development and persistence of symptoms and conditions after COVID-19, particularly among hospitalized individuals. They also emphasized the importance of investing in clinical and public health resources to treat and prevent PASC, including ongoing support for trials evaluating treatments for specific post-COVID conditions.