Long COVID, Big Bills Even With Short Hospital Stays

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- When COVID-19 patients are discharged from the hospital, astir are acold from being good -- adjacent if their infirmary enactment was reasonably short.

That's among the archetypal findings of a survey that followed Americans hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic's "third wave" -- the autumn of 2020 done aboriginal 2021.

Researchers recovered that of 253 patients discharged from the hospital, astir 85% were inactive not backmost to their erstwhile wellness 1 period later.

In fact, much than fractional reported a caller disablement that was interfering with their regular lives, including their quality to work. A akin percent said they had caller oregon worsening heart and lung symptoms -- specified arsenic chronic cough, breathing problems, chest pain and an irregular, racing heartbeat.

These were not elderly, frail people, stressed Dr. Theodore "Jack" Iwashyna, 1 of the study's pb researchers.

Half were younger than 60, and successful reasonably bully wellness earlier being sickened with COVID, according to Iwashyna, a prof of interior medicine astatine the University of Michigan successful Ann Arbor.

Nor did they person particularly agelong infirmary stays: The median enactment was 5 days, meaning fractional of the patients were discharged sooner.

Altogether, it highlights the lingering toll COVID-19 takes erstwhile radical are sick capable to onshore successful the hospital.

"Just due to the fact that they got retired of the infirmary doesn't mean they're fine," Iwashyna said.

That was existent successful the aboriginal days of the pandemic -- and, based connected this study, continued to beryllium existent successful the 3rd wave.

"COVID is inactive bad, adjacent though infirmary systems are prepared for it now," Iwashyna said.

Researchers are inactive trying to recognize wherefore COVID tin germinate into a long-haul information for immoderate people.

"Long COVID inactive has nary wide cause," said Dr. Thomas Gut, who heads the post-COVID betterment programme astatine Staten Island University Hospital successful New York City.

"Most caller grounds shows that the syndrome is related to inflammatory changes that hap owed to the infection," said Gut, who was not progressive successful the caller study.

Continued

Besides heart/lung symptoms, Gut said patients tin person profound fatigue and neuro-cognitive changes -- commonly dubbed "brain fog." And those problems tin adjacent onslaught radical who had milder COVID and ne'er needed to beryllium hospitalized, Gut said.

So portion SARS-CoV-2 is simply a respiratory virus, the resulting illness tin person wide effects successful the body.

"COVID is simply a whole-body illness," Iwashyna said, "and truthful is agelong COVID."

The findings, published precocious successful the Journal of Hospital Medicine, are based connected the archetypal patients successful a larger, ongoing government-funded study. It volition travel up to 1,500 patients hospitalized for COVID astatine ample hospitals crossed the United States.

Iwashyna's squad recovered that of 253 patients surveyed 1 period aft discharge, astir 55% said they had astatine slightest 1 caller oregon worsening heart/lung grounds -- astir commonly a chronic cough.

Meanwhile, 53% said they had carnal limitations that had not been contiguous before, including problems with regular tasks specified arsenic shopping, carrying groceries oregon adjacent walking astir the house.

Besides the carnal toll, the survey found, determination was a fiscal one: About 20% of patients said they'd either mislaid oregon had to alteration their job, portion 38% said a loved 1 had taken clip disconnected from enactment to attraction for them.

Because agelong COVID is analyzable and varied, Gut said, determination is nary "one size fits all" mode to negociate the symptoms.

One mode to assistance hospitalized patients is done location wellness services aft discharge.

But, Iwashyna said, fewer patients successful this survey really received those services -- and determination were hints that mightiness person contributed to their disabilities. Of patients who reported caller carnal limitations, a afloat 77% had not received location wellness care.

"This makes maine wonder, are we inactive underestimating however atrocious the semipermanent effects tin be?" Iwashyna said.

Both helium and Gut stressed a captious point: The champion mode to avert agelong COVID is to debar getting COVID successful the archetypal place.

"Get vaccinated," Iwashyna advised.

The vaccines are "not perfect," helium said, and breakthrough infections tin sometimes occur. But they inactive slash the hazard of getting sick, and are highly effectual astatine keeping radical retired of the hospital.

Continued

A survey released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recovered that unvaccinated radical are 29 times much apt to beryllium hospitalized for COVID than afloat vaccinated people.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has much connected long COVID.

SOURCES: Theodore "Jack" Iwashyna, MD, PhD, professor, interior medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Thomas Gut, DO, subordinate chair, medicine, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City; Journal of Hospital Medicine, Aug. 18, 2021, online

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