Nearly a third of COVID-19 patients who needed hospital treatment were readmitted within 140 days, a study suggests.
Researchers studied 47,780 people who had been in hospital with coronavirus in hospitals in England and found evidence to suggest those who recovered from the virus had increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular problems, as well as diabetes.
Within an average time of 140 days, 29.4% of people had been readmitted to hospital and one in 10 (12.3%) had died.
Readmission rates were highest among elderly people and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The study – by the Office for National Statistics, University College London and the University of Leicester – has yet to be peer-reviewed.
Those included in the study were in hospital between January and August last year and had a main diagnosis of COVID-19.
The patients had an average age of 65.
The study group was compared with the same number of people from similar demographics and with similar medical profiles over the same period.
During the study period, hospital readmissions were 3.5 times higher among the group of former coronavirus patients while deaths were 7.7 times higher.
Respiratory disease was diagnosed in 14,140 people after they were discharged from hospital, and 6,085 of those had not suffered from it before.
Compared with the general population, people who suffer severe complications from COVID-19 are more likely to be over 50 years old, male, living in a deprived area, overweight and a former smoker.
They are also more likely to have underlying health conditions, such as hypertension, respiratory diseases and diabetes.
This means they are already somewhat more likely to be admitted to hospital.
But there has been growing research suggesting COVID-19 can cause long-lasting damage to people’s health, with some suffering problems with their lungs, heart and brain.
A study by Edinburgh University of more than 1,200 patients found that 55% of all sufferers showed heart abnormalities.
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