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THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Individuals discharged from the hospital after acute COVID-19 have an increased risk for hospital readmission and mortality, according to a study published online March 31 in The BMJ.

Daniel Ayoubkhani, from the Office for National Statistics in Newport, Wales, and colleagues quantified rates of organ-specific dysfunction in individuals with COVID-19 after discharge from the hospital in a retrospective cohort study. A total of 47,780 individuals in England who were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and discharged alive by Aug. 31, 2020, were matched to controls from a pool of about 50 million people.

The researchers found that during a mean follow-up of 140 days, nearly one-third of those who were discharged after acute COVID-19 were readmitted (29.4 percent) and more than one in 10 (12.3 percent) died after discharge; these events occurred at rates of 766 and 320 per 1,000 person-years, respectively, which were 3.5 and 7.7 times greater than those in matched controls. Patients with COVID-19 also had significantly elevated rates of respiratory disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, with 770, 127, and 126 diagnoses per 1,000 person-years, respectively. The rate ratios were higher for individuals aged younger than 70 years versus those aged 70 years and older and for ethnic-minority groups versus the White population, with the largest differences seen for respiratory disease (10.5 versus 4.6 and 11.4 versus 5.2, respectively).

“Urgent research is needed to understand the risk factors for post-COVID syndrome so that treatment can be targeted better to demographically and clinically at risk populations,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca.

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